The National Irrigators’ Council says its members support Government exploring all options to assist irrigators and other farmers affected by drought – within the current water rules.

NIC CEO Steve Whan said “many irrigators are on zero allocations and that is very tough, we certainly appreciate local MPs and the Deputy Prime Minister being strong advocates for country communities and exploring all available options. We also appreciate the fact that they know that we must operate within the rules and protect the property right attached to water entitlements.

“The allocation of water in the Murray Darling is based on well-established water sharing rules, they form the basis of the water market and the Basin Plan (they are designed to adjust to our variable climate).

“Australia created a water market which means water entitlement is owned in exactly the same way as property. Irrigators have not, and will not, advocate anything that diminishes that property right.

“That includes the water owned by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH). The CEWH owns water in exactly the same way as irrigators. We certainly support exploring opportunities to sell some of that water back into the market but in a way that is consistent with the existing legislation.

“The National Irrigators’ Council does not advocate action which would change the status of water owned by our members or the CEWH. We are very clear on that and, from the discussions we have had, believe Government and Opposition agree.

“For many irrigators this drought will cause significant hardship, it will impact severely on annual crops and on the production of fodder. That will flow on to communities,so we actively support Government action to help those farmers and those communities.

“We certainly appreciate the fact that our elected representatives want to do everything possible to help.”

Media Contact: Steve Whan 0429 780 883
Friday 14 September 2018