Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed is calling for end of catchments targets to be implemented in the Murray Darling Basin to ensure all users receive a fair share of water the whole way down the river.
Speaking after her Truth and Water Tour of the Northern Basin on Sunday, Ms Sheed said the trip further cemented what she was being told by water users.
“While I want the Goulburn Valley to continue to lead the charge in fresh fruit, vegetable and dairy production – and the employment that these industries provide – this trip has shown me that we all need to work together and care for every community along the Murray Darling Basin and make sure we all get a fair share of water,” Ms Sheed said.
“What we have learnt from our trip is that there has been enormous and increasing water take from the floodplains in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland and as a result, communities in the lower Darling have suffered from lack of flows and the southern basin is deprived of its contribution from the north.
“If northern New South Wales floodplain irrigators continue to take water from the Murray Darling Basin the way they have been, it will lead to constant connectivity problems along the Darling River and through to the Murray. The unregulated water take from the northern floodplains and lack of metering and accountability must not continue.
“The current practices we have seen and heard about on our tour of the Northern Basin simply cannot continue if we want to create a sustainable and healthy river system for all communities along the Murray Darling Basin.
“It opened our eyes to the larger environmental and human impact of the unfair distribution of our most precious resource.
“It is common sense – and clearly outlined in the Murray Darling Basin Plan – that water for critical human needs should be a priority.
“But we have seen this is not always the case. We witnessed Indigenous communities in Menindee mourn their cultural rights on a dry lake bed, while cotton stations up north continue building storages to harvest water from the floodplains.
“While the whole Murray Darling Basin has suffered from the devastating drought over recent years, this does not excuse the huge level of development that has occurred on the northern floodplains.
“If New South Wales does not have proper floodplain harvesting targets in place and takes too much from the rivers, the Darling will continue to degrade, and Victoria will end up supplying more water to South Australia. Meanwhile big irrigators in New South Wales and Queensland reap the rewards of an unfair situation.”
Elaine Cooney 0447 820 466│email@example.com