The National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has welcomed the election of the Albanese Government and looks forward to working with the new government and parliament.
NIC Chief Executive Officer Isaac Jeffrey said: “The 2022 Federal Election will be one for the record books with remarkable swings and a changing of the guard in numerous electorates around the country.
“On behalf of the National Irrigators’ Council, I congratulate the new Prime Minister and his incoming government. I also extend our congratulations to all Members of Parliament and Senators who will form the 47th Parliament.
“The new government and parliament will come together during an interesting and potentially challenging time for both water and energy policy. National water reform will shape the management of our most precious resource around the country for years to come.
“The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is due to be fully implemented by 2024 with a review in 2026. There are still some outstanding elements of the Plan, including projects under the Sustainable Diversion Limits Adjustment Mechanism program and the 450 gigalitre Efficiency Measures program. There is still time to get on and achieve outcomes under these programs. We ask the new government to commit to the Ministerial Council decision to honour the socio-economic conditions of the Plan and rule out further buybacks.
“The Prime Minister has today said we can do better at politics in this country and has promised to bring people together. I couldn’t agree more. The new government must acknowledge the hard won progress of the Plan and the collegiate nature of water stakeholders. All stakeholders are working together to achieve outcomes and we encourage that collaboration to continue into the future. It is vitally important for any water policy or plan to maintain the right balance into the future to deliver for the productive sector, the environment and for local communities.
“The National Irrigators’ Council strongly believes water policy should focus on outcomes. The Plan and the National Water Initiative must move to a future where water is used to secure the best outcomes, rather than meeting arbitrary volume metrics.
“On energy policy, NIC is focused on the transition of the energy sector and the post-2025 design of the energy market. It is fundamentally important that energy prices allow irrigated agriculture to remain internationally competitive. Electricity prices should be capped at eight cents for electrons and eight cents for network costs.
“In addition to price considerations, the new government must ensure the energy network is reliable and secure. Farmers need to know that when they flick the switch on their pumps they will come on and that they won’t be controlled by a bureaucrat or energy operator siting in their office miles away in a capital city.
“NIC has committed to net zero emissions by 2050 and has a solid policy on climate change. Farmers are at the forefront of climate change – they work the land every day and deal with the effects of our changing weather and climate conditions. As the new government and parliament considers how to address climate change, we would ask that they consider the impact of their decisions on the irrigated agriculture sector. The burdens of our climate policies must be equitably shared and targeted for real outcomes.
“Irrigated agriculture is essential for our nation. It delivers one hundred percent of our rice, over ninety-five percent of our cotton, ninety percent of our fruit, nuts and grapes, over seventy-six percent of our vegetables, and over fifty percent of our sugar and dairy. The sector is also responsible for over $18 billion for local economies and is a powerhouse for trade.
“Irrigated agriculture is putting food on tables and clothes on backs here in Australia and with our trading partners around the world. NIC looks forward to working with the new government and parliament to help secure the future of this vital sector.”
You can find out more about the NIC’s policy asks for the new government here:
Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey | 0407 083 890 | firstname.lastname@example.org