National Irrigators’ Council
Advocating for the Australian irrigated agriculture industry
WHY OUR WORK MATTERS
Water is the lifeblood of many rural communities. It underpins the irrigated agriculture sector, providing food and fibre for domestic consumption and significant export income for the nation. Water provides direct employment on farms in irrigated agriculture and horticulture industries and underpins the prosperity of communities. It enables communities to be self-sustaining, with flourishing processing industries and significant flow on effects into local businesses, delivering broader community and regional benefits.
The National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has long argued the case for a balance between social, environmental and economic outcomes to ensure the Basin Plan and National Water Reform is fair and workable. Without this objective, communities will continue to bear the burden of not only an unsatisfactory Basin Plan, but an unsatisfactory outcome on national water reform more broadly.
NIC continues to advocate for a viable and productive irrigated agriculture sector in Australia, stronger local communities and a healthy environment.
NIC works with politicians, the public service and a multitude of stakeholders to ensure the voice of irrigation farmers and businesses, and their local communities are heard on water, energy and climate policies.
Broadly, NIC provides advocacy on:
• National Water Reform
• Murray-Darling Basin Plan
• Water Infrastructure and Water Grid Investments
• National Water Policy
• National Energy Policy
• National Energy Market Reform
• National Climate Change Policy and Programs
NIC Advocacy on National Water Reform
Australia’s national water reform process has required the productive sector to ‘do more with less’. As the irrigated agriculture sector faces the next iteration of national water reform, NIC will not accept an outcome where water entitlement holders are required to solely bear the risk of climate change.
National Water Reform
NIC highlighted during the Productivity Commission review of National Water Reform, the importance of environmental water managers being able to demonstrate a clear process across the board for the management of environmental water holdings, including where progress has been/is being made on targeted environmental sites.
1500 GL cap on water buybacks
NIC advocated in 2015 to Federal and State Government Basin Water Ministers to secure the 1500GL cap on water buybacks.
Shifting the focus to complementary waterways management
NIC supports environmental improvement through complementary, or non-flow, waterways management. This approach was also recommended by: The Productivity Commission and The Sefton Review on the Social and Economic conditions in the Murray Darling Basin.
Northern Basin Review
In 2016, NIC argued that there should be no further high impact ‘’acquisition” of surface water entitlement across the Northern Basin by the Australian Government to meet the water recovery targets set by the Basin Plan.
ACCC inquiry into water markets in the Murray Darling Basin
NIC highlighted to the Federal Water Minister the importance of irrigation industry representatives to be included on the Government advisory panel appointed to oversee the 2021 ACCC report on water markets
Removal of the Limited Merits Review
Advocating for our members to the federal Government for the removal of the Limited Merits Review
In September 2014, a group of Australia’s peak agriculture organisations met to work in partnership to advocate for action to reform Australia’s energy sector, with a key focus on electricity prices and the unsustainable high cost of the network charges passed on to consumers, imposing a highly distorting effect on the energy market in regional Australia.
Bi-Annual Strategic Roundtable
Advocating for a bi-annual strategic roundtable between the agriculture and energy sectors.
A senior Ag Energy Taskforce Representative
Advocating for a dedicated senior Ag Energy Taskforce representative to provide and coordinate engagement between Ag Energy Taskforce members and energy decision making bodies.
National Food and Fibre Tariff
Advocating for a national food and fibre tariff to deliver a long term price capped at 8 cents per kilowatt-hour for the electrons (R) and a similar ceiling of 8 cents per kilowatt-hour for the network (N).
Regulatory Asset Base Write-Down
Advocating on the need for a revaluation of the regulatory asset base (RAB) of energy companies to remove the impact of historic over investment from the underlying cost base
Regional and Rural Implications Statement
Advocating for a requirement that regulatory proposals put forward by infrastructure owners to the Australian Energy Regulator provide a 2-3 page ‘regional and rural implications statement’.
Read more about our achievements including important actions and outcomes on our detailed achievements page.