A long-term national, scientifically based, focus on maximising Australia’s ability to sustainably produce irrigated crops should be welcomed by every Australian who likes to eat and wear clothes, says National Irrigators’ Council CEO, Steve Whan.

He was responding to the pre-election announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister that, if re-elected, the Government intends to set up a ‘statutory authority to deliver strategic planning and project management for water policy and water infrastructure right across the nation’.

Steve Whan said “in a country with such variable rainfall and with climate change happening, we must not lose sight of how vital water storage actually is.

“We welcome an approach that looks carefully and scientifically about how we can make best use of water in areas where it might be available, and in a way which is sustainable.

“This should not be confused with a fight over the Murray Darling.

“At a national level we would like all sides of politics to take a similar approach. 

“Recognise that there are opportunities to produce more irrigated produce in parts of Australia; rationally and sensibly assess the projects considering sustainability both environmentally and in a business sense; consider related issues like demand and access to markets.

“And, importantly, recognise that irrigated agriculture has a major positive regional development impact.

“Irrigators grow more than 84% of Australia’s fruit, vegetables and nuts, along with dairy products, rice, cotton, sugar and wine. Without irrigators we would be a food importer rather than supporting our own population and generating export income.

“We welcome political representatives who can look to continuing to build this vital sector for our countries’ future.”

Media Contact:  Steve Whan 0429 780 883
Tuesday 30 April 2019

For more on NIC’s election policy agenda see https://www.irrigators.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/NIC_federal_election_2019_WATER.pdf