Socio economic data from the Northern basin review should be seen as a gamechanger by Basin State Water Ministers, as they head into Friday’s Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council meeting in Mildura, says National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) CEO, Steve Whan.

Steve Whan said “Ministers need to focus on outcomes for river health and the community rather than just ticking off numbers of gigalitres (GL). I’m hopeful that despite the sometimes – fractious debate they will do that.

“The socio – economic analysis undertaken by the MDBA as part of the Northern Basin review shows comprehensively, and scientifically, that removing productive water has a negative impact on jobs throughout a region. That scientific modelling shows that recovering 278GL in the Northern basin has cost 450 people their jobs.

“Future action needs to be firmly framed around that background – around achieving outcomes without negative community impact.

“NICs members come from every basin state and the view is consistent across each.

“Irrigators want to see a genuine triple bottom line outcome out of this process. We want healthy rivers and healthy environment; we want basin communities to have bright futures; and we want viable and sustainable irrigated agriculture that can put affordable fresh fruit and vegetables in Australian kitchens.

“That includes supplying the people of Adelaide with the fresh produce they enjoy from South Australia’s irrigated areas.

“It should be acknowledged that irrigators and basin communities are, and continue to, contribute to achieving environmental targets. MDBA estimates water recovery as at 31 Dec 2016 as being 2,027.6 GL, or 73.7% toward the 2,750 GL surface water recovery target. ABS figures also show significant reductions in the total area being irrigated and the amount of water being used per hectare.”

Contact : Steve Whan 0429 780 883
Wednesday 15 March 2017