The National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has today questioned the transparency and
predictability of water allocations decisions.
NIC Chief Executive Officer Isaac Jeffrey said: “We have seen good rainfall in the last few
months in many areas of the country, which is a welcomed change after years of
devastating droughts and low or zero allocations for our food and fibre producers.
“Common sense would lead people to believe that more water would be available to
farmers who put food on our tables and clothes on our backs, and who have helped
stabilise and grow our economy, even through drought. But sadly, water allocations policy
is a ‘black-box’ practise and impossible to follow.
“Our dams are filling and pre-releases have started in the Murrumbidgee and at Hume to
mitigate flood risk, while the Snowy Required Annual Release is heading to dams which are
“Yet, general security allocations announced over this week have remained frustratingly
“Farmers, like any other business, need certainty and clarity to make decisions. Markets
need clear, transparent and defined processes and decisions to operate effectively. We
cannot have a system where decisions are made in the dark and farmers are left guessing.
Choosing to plant a crop is a major decision and shouldn’t be left to the flip of a coin.
“Environmental water should not have third party impacts. Extracted water for the
environment cannot be allowed to double dip at the expense of our local growers who
had to accept the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in good faith, relying on the triple bottom line
outcomes of the plan.
“Growers can’t be the only ones contributing to this good faith and they can’t be left
holding an empty bucket, while others manipulate the system.
“NIC calls on the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and State Environmental
Agencies to publish their annual work plans; achievements with the water they take from
the system; when and why water is traded; and risk assessments undertaken to mitigate
impacts on other water users.
“NIC again calls for transparency and predictability in water allocation decision making.
And, we call for a return to fairness and common sense in water policy, which is focused
on delivering community, economic and environmental outcomes.”
Ends. Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890 firstname.lastname@example.org