The National Irrigators Council (NIC) has welcomed the signing back into law of the Basin Plan’s Northern Basin amendment, with CEO, Steve Whan, saying it was a positive outcome of good work between Government and Opposition, to deliver for communities and the environment.
Steve Whan said “the Northern Basin amendment is important for a couple of reasons, the first is that it achieves better environmental outcomes than the requirements it replaces and, it does it, at the same time as minimizing further job losses in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland communities.
“Irrigators made clear from the first moment this recommendation appeared that it was not our ideal outcome – there will still be areas that feel negative impacts – but it certainly is better for everyone than the alternative.
“NIC does want to give huge credit to Minister Littleproud who came into the water portfolio determined to get the Basin Plan back on track and who showed his commitment to achieving the bipartisanship necessary to make it a success.
“His work will achieve a better environment, healthier river systems while seeking to achieve that critical balance of healthy communities and continued capacity to produce food and fibre in the Basin.
“To its credit the Opposition has also been absolutely consistent throughout, Shadow Minister Burke made it clear in February that the Opposition would support a Northern Basin amendment if its concerns were answered. The Opposition achieved commitments from the Government, which are challenging for irrigators, but it has kept its word.
“Critically this amendment commits resources to so called ‘toolkit’ measures. These are things Irrigators have been advocating like improving conditions for native fish, tackling pest species and improving connectivity of the river. The agreements also include commitments to protecting environmental flows and strict compliance, goals irrigators also support.
“The independent analysis of this amendment is that it will actually achieve more of the Basin Plan’s environmental objectives than the un-amended plan would have. That and the impact on communities is exactly why a Northern Basin review was a part of the original Plan agreed by the Parliament and Basin State Governments in 2012.”
Media Contact: Steve Whan 0429 780 883
Wednesday 4 July 2018