The National Irrigators’ Council has urged Murray Darling Basin Water Ministers meeting in Canberra this week to urgently progress the work flagged by Ernst and Young in its report on achieving 450GL worth of efficiency measures to better define how community impact will be measured.

NIC CEO, Steve Whan, said “it is very pleasing that this Ministerial meeting is able to be held with a sense of the Basin Plan being back on track – indeed given the difficulties in the first few months of this year it is pleasing it is being held at all!

“But there are some tough challenges remaining.

“We know that as a result of the agreement between the Federal Government and Opposition, this meeting will be considering a proposal for Expressions of Interest to obtain the additional 450GL of environmental water flagged in the Plan.

“It is critical that in doing that Ministers keep in mind the conclusions drawn by Ernst and Young in their report to the Council last year.

“That means the additional environmental water should be sought first from off-farm projects and we therefore support efforts to seek water from urban, industrial and other off-farm savings.

“Irrigators would want to see strong acknowledgement from Ministers that on-farm efficiency projects can have flow on impacts in communities and districts. This was a key point made by the Ernst and Young report.

“NIC would urge Ministers to progress responding to the Ernst and Young report to define how community impacts are to be measured and therefore how to ensure that the promise of no negative impact, made when the Basin Plan was introduced, can be met.

“It is essential that Government recognises that this process will only be successful if the resources and effort is put in to work with individual districts and communities to design programs. One size fits all programs wont produce the result for communities or the environment.

“We want the Basin Plan to work and to achieve its ambitious triple bottom line outcome. We will be constructive participants with Government in trying to make that happen.”

Media Contact: Steve Whan 0429 780 883
Thursday 7 June 2018