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Things you need to know

By Country News

REPORT SLAMS MDBA:

The South Australian Royal Commission into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has accused the Murray-Darling Basin Authority of acting unlawfully, committing gross maladministration and taking a ‘‘head-in-the-sand approach’’ to climate change.

The inquiry’s report released on Thursday found river allocations were driven by politics, and called for a complete overhaul of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, but the MDBA has denied it acted unlawfully.

RELIEF FOR IRRIGATORS:

Riverina-based Murray Irrigation has announced it will distribute 53Gl of water to its customers free of charge to mitigate their ‘‘dire’’ circumstances.

The distribution, which has a current market value of about $28million, was made after the NSW Industry Department announced on Friday that the allocation of water to farmers holding general security water licences would remain at zero for the year.

DAIRY CODE DISCUSSED:

Jo Grainger, from the Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Department, visited Echuca last week to hear concerns from farmers about a mandatory dairy code. Many in the room were against a mandatory code of conduct being made law.

AG OUTLOOK MIXED:

Australian agriculture is on a strong path, but headwinds are mounting and downside risks are considerable in 2019, according to a just-released industry report. Rabobank’s Agribusiness Outlook 2019 reveals that Australia’s agricultural industries are set to enjoy rising offshore demand and improved market access in the years ahead, while reaping the benefits of growing investment in the sector.

However, it warns there are ‘‘many cyclical and short-term factors’’ which will affect the sector, including climate and the global economic outlook.