The National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has congratulated new Minister for Water, Keith Pitt, on his appointment to a very challenging portfolio and thanked deputy Nationals leader David Littleproud for his contribution to water policy. 

NIC CEO, Steve Whan, said “water minister is a very difficult job and it can be a delicate task trying to achieve outcomes that balance the needs of the environment and communities, and Australia’s capacity to continue to produce food and fibre. 

“That is particularly the case in a Murray Darling Basin so severely impacted by drought and years of water reform.

“Australia’s irrigators produced $17.7 billion worth of crops in 2017-18.  Without them Australians’ would not have fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts or Australian wine in the shops; we would be importing dairy products and we would have thousands of jobs less in rural communities without the cotton and sugar irrigation helps to grow.

“New Minister Keith Pitt is well aware of that, coming from a strong irrigation community in Bundaberg Queensland and we have had the pleasure of working with him in the past on issues facing irrigators in that area. 

“NIC looks forward to working with the new Minister as he makes his contribution to water policy nationally and, in particular, the challenges around the implementation of the remaining elements of the Murray Darling Basin Plan. 

“Former Minister Littleproud managed those challenges in a considered and balanced way, and importantly he worked hard to maintain the bi-partisanship approach to the Plan in Federal Parliament.  We thank him for that and look forward to the new Minister continuing to look to outcomes that serve the longer-term needs of achieving a stable triple bottom line future. 

“Irrigators recognise that the Minister can’t do everything we want, but we remain committed to being a positive part of the process. 

“We also congratulate Deputy Nationals leader, the Hon David Littleproud, on returning to the Agriculture portfolio and look forward to working with him in that role.”

Media Contact:  Steve Whan 0429 780 883

Thursday 6 February 2020