The complexity of water management makes it exceptionally difficult for people to know where to point their fingers, and what we should be looking at to get better outcomes for our industry.
So what do we do, as one industry, to get to the bottom of this complexity and identify what needs fixing to get better outcomes for our sector?
NSWIC has developed some information to inform our irrigation farmers on how to engage in informed and constructive advocacy that has the best possible chance of leading to positive outcomes, without risking further losses of water.
In summary, irrigation farmers who wish to advocate for better outcomes should ask for:
Amend the Murray-Darling Agreement
Seek an investigation into how drought risk and burden is shared between states, and how sharing arrangements impact on state water allocations and deliverability.
Government to do their heavy lifting under the Basin Plan properly so farmers don’t have to do any more
Ensure government do their fair share (by implementing the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism Projects), but allowing flexibility and adaptability to get these projects right, supported by local communities, and get them in place – to avoid more buy-backs.
Remove impediments to underusage so every drop for farmers can be used by farmers
Support state governments doing an investigation into underusage so farmers are using up to the Sustainable Diversion Limit, and processes are in place if they do not (e.g. if SDL credits accumulate).
Make the most of the Inspector-General
With investigative powers akin to a Royal Commission – our industry should be collaborating positively to see any concerns of maladministration referred to this statutory authority for action.
See complementary measures delivered by Government
Further details are included in the NSWIC Roadmap to a Secure, Sustainable and Productive Murray-Darling Basin (stay tuned – this will be published soon). We will continue to update this list as the moving parts continue to play out. You can stay up to date on the latest actions by both NSWIC and Government by checking in on our Action Statement [HERE].