Talking Water: Political ‘water grab’ destroying agriculture boon

Despite improved prices for most agricultural commodities there are further troubling times ahead for irrigation communities.

The appointment of yet another federal water minister highlights a portfolio with impractical legislation culminating in a plan “we have to have”.

With little respect for our farmers, articles recently published were clearly aimed at coercing us into accepting flawed policy that doesn’t deliver the promised social, economic and environmental outcomes we yearn for.

David Littleproud’s baptism into this portfolio is not unlike others before him.

A whirlwind tour of the regions, speaking to a select few, does not make him an expert.

Littleproud commented:

“What I am really pleased about is hearing farmers saying the plan is working; they say they are prepared to cop the umpire’s decision even if it affects their livelihoods.”

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The article continues:

“Despite less irrigation water across the Basin, which produces more than one-third of Australia’s food, only the dairy and rice industries have suffered significant production losses.”

Since 2010 there have been four high-flow seasons, yet timely access to water is becoming more expensive and competitive.

Communities continue to deal with another water grab as the hunt for the purely political 450 GL continues.

Every drop of water that leaves irrigated agriculture coincides with an associated loss of basic services.

Our communities have always cooperated and in many cases conceded to the tide of ill-informed government policy.

Over the years we have been subjected to contradictory policies that pander to populist ideas and extreme green groups.

Since when were dairy and rice not considered valuable global staples and long term options for producers and the Australian economy?

Why are commodities and producers being traded off against each other in the name of short term ‘highest value’?

Our forebears built the storage systems to establish long term stability in inland Australia because this is indeed the land of drought and flooding rains.

The current management mindset is to tip stored water resources onto full systems, turn water into a tradeable commodity based on supply and demand and then deliberately impede allocations (the supply) in order to do both.

The potential of our regions is enormous.

There is room for all of us to sustainably produce and co-exist with our environment.

The missing link is sensible, time tested agriculture and environmental policies that recognise long term potential.