VICTORIA’S peak farm lobby has demanded Federal Water Minister, Tony Burke guarantee environmental works and measures are used to reduce the need to take 2,750GL of water from irrigation communities.
Speaking on Channel 10’s Meet the Press recently, Minister Burke said he believed he could find more than 3,000GL of water for the environment if the Murray Darling Basin Plan included more efficient river operations.
“But that figure is still based on taking 2,750GL away from irrigation communities, and that’s just not good enough,” Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) Water Council Chair, Richard Anderson said.
“The VFF has long argued draining this much of irrigators’ water out of the basin will devastate communities.”
In its submission to the Murray Darling Basin Authority, the VFF proposed using environmental water more efficiently to reduce the 2,750GL by 500 – 800GL while delivering the same environmental outcomes.
“But Mr Burke is saying he’ll still take 2,750GL from irrigation communities, and then make further savings through environmental works and measures to top up the number to 3,000GL.
“So the impacts on irrigators and communities will be the same.”
Mr Anderson said the VFF’s proposal focuses on outcomes, rather than volumes, and demands all water users are equally efficient.
“In this way, a balanced outcome for the environment and the community can be achieved.
“Victorian irrigators have already given away their fair share of water.
“Irrigators need to be able to operate with certainty about the future, and at the moment, the Federal Water Minister isn’t providing any,” Mr Anderson said.