Potential outcome of Murray-Darling Basin Plan is uncertain

Alan Brown
Alan Brown

HOW the Murray-Darling Basin Plan might play out in southern irrigation districts has never looked so uncertain.

For more than a decade the plight of this plan has had agricultural producers and environmentalists on tenterhooks.

NSW Farmers Wagga and district branch chairman Alan Brown was watching the political climate with interest this week.

“The critical issue around here is water supply … it is a limiting factor and it is certainly changing the crops that people are growing,” he said. 

Despite signals that Federal Labor could stop changes to the water plan’s proposed savings Mr Brown said he didn’t think the outcome next week would be that dramatic. He said it was important to get this right for the sake of rural viability and also in being responsible to environmental needs. “The basin plan is trying to please too many masters and that is a concerning issue,” he said. 

The National Irrigators Council chief executive officer Steve Whan said he was appalled that a decision that would cost rural families their livelihoods had been made with so little regard for the people involved or for the basin plan overall.

“Communities have every right to be outraged that after years of work and scrutiny, a thorough and independent process could be tossed out by a Greens determination to politically wedge Labor before it can reach any agreement with the Government,” he said. 

In a statement cotton Australia has called on all parties to put politicking aside and heed the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s call to allow the Murray-Darling Basin Plan time to deliver on its promise.

“If the media reports … concerning Labor’s willingness to support the Disallowance Motion are correct, this is an extremely troubling development,” said Cotton Australia general manager, Michael Murray.