The National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has expressed its disappointment the water portfolio has
been relegated from Cabinet in the recent ministerial reshuffle.
Chief Executive Officer Isaac Jeffrey said: “Water is our most precious resource and we need
effective decision making which underpins existing property rights, supports resilient
communities and the environment, and gets the balance right for all stakeholders.
“As we recover from a crippling drought and prepare for the future implications of climate
change, it is more important than ever that water is seen as a top priority for governments.
“NIC has advocated for changes to the SDL projects to allow the States to bring forward new
supply projects, supported complementary or non-flow measures being legislated, and
advocated for other practical changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
“Farmers have worked with the plan in good faith and have acted accordingly, delivering
large volumes of water back to the community and the environment. It’s time for governments
across the Basin to step up and do their share, including getting on with delivering the SDL
“Disappointingly, the Government used water policy as a political football last week and this
week has signalled it is not important enough to be in Cabinet. Water is too essential for
partisanship and to not have a seat at the table.”
Mr Jeffrey said while the NIC welcomed the recent passage of legislation giving effect to the
role of the Inspector-General of Water Compliance, it remains concerned about other policy
discussions, including on broader climate issues which sit front and centre of the current water
“Our industry demands strong compliance mechanisms. NIC welcomes the passage of the
legislation and will continue to work with the Inspector-General as he assumes his role,” Mr
“As the climate continues to change, and rainfall and inflows decrease or become more
variable, it is important for sound water, climate and environmental policy to be adopted at
the national level to provide certainty.
“Water is vital for our farmers to grow the food and fibre our nation and the world needs.
Farmers need confidence to plan which can only be delivered through sensible and defined
water, climate and environmental policies.
“Irrigators also know how important water is to local communities, First Nations groups and the
environment, because we are locals too. Intelligent collaboration, not confrontation, is needed
to ensure balanced policy is developed and implemented going forward.
“Ironically, no one wins when we seek to anoint winners and losers.”
Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890 firstname.lastname@example.org