Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed says she is anxiously awaiting the outcome of this Friday’s Ministerial Council meeting of the Federal and State Water Ministers, to be held in Mildura.
Friday’s meeting follows the heated meeting held in South Australia last November, after Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce publicly stated he did not believe the 450GL of upwater could be delivered to that state without serious negative consequences to irrigation communities.
“With the recent release of the Victorian Government’s socio economic report, we now have two reputable studies which show the delivery of the extra 450GL would have dire consequences, particularly on the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID),” Ms Sheed said.
“It should never have been a part of the deal, and it must be removed from the plan.”
An expert panel was recently appointed by the Victorian and NSW Water Ministers to review the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) adjustment mechanism.
The Panel is due to report its findings to the Ministerial Council this week.
“I, together with fellow members of the GMID Water Leadership Forum, have serious concerns about the uplift of this matter to the Council of Australian Governments, particularly following the intervention of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year.
“But with two reports now saying the same thing, there are certain facts governments and the Murray Darling Basin Authority simply cannot ignore.
“Our farmers will be even more exposed in the next drought season.
The dairy industry will be the hardest hit, and that, in turn, puts the GMID at a higher risk than most because of our large number of dairy farmers. The impact on horticulture will also be severe,” Ms Sheed said.
“The Basin Plan has delivered a range of outcomes. Our farms are becoming more efficient, and Victoria in particular, has returned more than 75 per cent of our water target. But we must discuss the fact that our communities are now at the tipping point.
“These two reports show that to deliver the 450GL of upwater, would clearly signal the end of the dairy industry as we know it, and severely impact the operation of our horticulturalists and mixed farmers.
Removing the upwater from the plan will give surety to farmers, to the wider community and to investors, that there is a future in the GMID,” Ms Sheed said.
Sueanne McCumstie 0428 743 880│firstname.lastname@example.org