The National Irrigators’ Council acknowledges the release of the State of the Climate report which
timely coincides with the 10 year anniversary of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
NIC CEO Isaac Jeffrey said: “The Murray-Darling Basin Plan has delivered ninety-eight percent of its
surface water targets and over ninety percent of its groundwater targets. It has seen environmental
water delivering fish and bird breeding events throughout the system. It rightly prioritises human
needs, like drinking water and bathing, above the environment and the productive sector through
the allocations process. It’s been a challenging journey, but it’s working and has delivered.
“The State of the Climate report released today paints a confronting picture of our climate future,
with more extreme weather events, such as torrential rain, bushfires, droughts, rising temperatures,
and increased intensity storms and rainfall. These events will have a devastating impact on food
and fibre production, on local communities and the environment, and this impact needs to be
assessed not just from an environmental standpoint, but from a food security and economic
“As we celebrate ten years of the Basin Plan and all it has achieved, and turn our thoughts towards
finalising and reviewing the Plan, it is fundamentally important that science, such as the State of the
Climate report, is considered. It is equally important that the impacts of our changing climate are
assessed and evaluated for the environment, but also for our communities, economy, and food
production and security.
“In finalising the Plan and preparing for its future, we need to consider the world leading water and
farm management practices employed in Australia and the exemplary quality of the food and fibre
we produce – and whether we would prefer to have Australian made and grown produce on our
backs and dining tables. We need to consider the impact of change on jobs, on trade and on our
economy. And, we need to consider the cost of living flow on effects of decisions and events which
impact food and fibre production.
“With increased risks and water security concerns, governments need to urgently invest in water
storage and improvements, including works to deepen dams and raise dam walls to limit
evaporation, increase volumes and mitigate floods. Dams store water not just for the productive
sector providing some security for food and fibre growth, but also to keep the rivers healthy and
connected, and to deliver environmental outcomes.
“If further water recovery occurs, pushing producers and jobs out of the system, it will mean less
food and fibre is grown. Increased climate risk increases the chances that some of the remaining
production will be lost. These scenarios only lead to food insecurity and higher cost of living – and
must be avoided. There are better ways.
“We should celebrate the wins of the Basin Plan and thank the regional communities which have
sacrificed so much to make it a reality. We need to work together to finalise the Plan and to
consider the future of the Plan to ensure it can continue to deliver food security and economic
benefits, environmental outcomes and thriving local communities.”
Ends. Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890