Basin inquiry recognises community concern


NSW Farmers welcomes the announcement of an inquiry into the social and economic impacts of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, announced today by the Commonwealth Government.

Chair of the NSW Farmers Conservation and Resource Management committee, Bronwyn Petrie, said the Association has been calling for an inquiry into the concerns of members, particularly the efficacy of the Plan and its impact on regional communities.

“NSW Farmers is pleased to see the Commonwealth Government listening to the concerns of regional communities across the Murray Darling Basin and conducting an inquiry into the impact of the Plan on Basin communities”, Ms Petrie said.

“At our recent Executive Council meeting, NSW Farmers called for a review of the Plan’s implementation.  We also called for a re-examination of the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) projects to ensure their ability to deliver against the Plan’s objectives and, where necessary, consider including new projects to deliver actual efficiencies to provide more water for the environment and for agriculture.”

Ms Petrie said members remain concerned with the Plan’s ability to deliver against its stated objectives.  

“With inflows into the system now at the lowest on records in many river valleys as a result of one of the worst droughts seen since European settlement, the one thing needed to provide more water for the environment is rain to break the drought and begin filling storages again.”

“The inquiry itself, though, must be matched by a commitment to act on the concerns of regional communities.  Given the pending election, both sides of politics must agree to address concerns of Basin communities and, where necessary, uphold important aspects of the Plan such as the legislated cap on buybacks and on maintaining the triple-bottom line aspects of the 450Gl up-water targets.”

Ms Petrie said the Government should include, as one of the yet to be selected five member panel, a representative from southern New South Wales to be part of the process.

“Irrigators in the Murray region of New South Wales have, to date, been required to do so much of the heavy lifting to deliver the Plan’s objectives.  These communities should be amongst the first visited by the Panel.”

“NSW Farmers welcomes the decision to engage with communities.  The inquiry, however, is only as good as the outcomes which come from it and the commitment to heed the concerns of regional communities and act upon them," Ms Petrie said.

Date: Monday 8 April 2019
Media Contact:  Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988 | burtm@nswfarmers.org.au