Goulburn-Murray irrigation district water leadership forum
I rise to speak on the concerning future facing our farming communities as the Murray-Darling Basin plan continues to be rolled out.
The Goulburn-Murray irrigation district water leadership forum, which I chair, met last week with the consultants it commissioned to undertake a socio-economic impact study in relation to the plan.
Sadly we expect the results of that study to show what our Murray River communities on both sides of the rivers predicted, and that is that the consequences of the rollout of the plan are already having a negative impact across the region. It is this evidence which will give us the capacity to advocate strongly against the 450 gigalitres of water which is envisaged by the plan will be taken away, in addition to the 2750 gigalitres provided for the environment.
Our water forum is not opposing the environment receiving its 2750 gigalitres as provided; it is how that water will be achieved which is the concern. It has been the intention of all parties to the Murray-Darling Basin agreement that 650 gigalitres would come from water-saving projects. As time moves on it is becoming clear that that target may not be achievable, and it raises fear in our communities that the commonwealth government will come back in and attempt to buy back water from our farmers, removing water from the district. There must be a commitment to no more water leaving the consumptive pool. We will be handing our report to the Victorian Minister for Water as soon as it is ready for her to take to the ministerial council meeting in November to advocate on behalf of our local irrigation communities.