Southern Riverina News

A nightmare come true

Once upon a time there was a country that had it all – a country that had an irrigation system that was the envy of the world.

Then along came Labor’s Federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek with a short sighted polical agenda, and a simple desire to destroy the irrigators that produce the staple foods that feed our nation and underpin the economic wealth of our country.

Sound like a nightmare?

Alas, Southern Riverina Irrigators points out this is now the reality our rural communities face as Plibersek and the Greens, push to take another 450GL away from the people that create jobs, reduce the cost of living and produce the staple foods you eat every day.

SRI CEO Sophie Baldwin said buybacks are lazy and a destructive way to recover water, and the Restoring our Rivers Bill will destroy our rural communities.

“Irrigation underpins the social, economic and environmental success of our communities and if you take away the major source of income, of course it is going to impact these people, it is dishonest to say otherwise,” Ms Baldwin said.

“If Plibersek truly believes this bill will not negatively impact our communities, why is she removing the socioeconomic test that is our only protection from buybacks?”

Ms Baldwin said she finds it astounding the government is rushing ahead without even investigating the economic impact of this loss of water on the Australian economy.

“And to add insult to injury, the minister cannot tell us how she is even going to physically deliver this additional volume of water through a system already imploding under current delivery volumes and constraints, this is just a disaster,” she said.

The government currently owns more than 4600GL of environmental water and the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder has already acknowledged they can only deliver 78 percent of their current volume.

Ms Baldwin said irrigation is not the enemy, and is actually part of the solution.

“Farmers know better than anyone the importance of a sustainable river system

because their livelihoods depend upon it.

“Irrigation enables water to be delivered right across the southern basin and has over time evolved into its own environment. We have water rats, birds, fish, reptiles, bugs and turtles living in our irrigation channels. Take that away and this biodiversity has no home.”

Ms Baldwin said the future of staple food production and the economic success of the country now rests in the hands of the Senate cross bench.

“We can only hope they show more common sense then their Labor and Green counterparts who think the fairies are going to ride their unicorns into the supermarket and put food on our shelves.

“Labor and the Greens have prioritised their own political gain and sold our rural communities down the river,” she said.





McPherson Media