‘Obvious’ need to pause plan

By Country News

Recent revelations about an $80million water purchase by the Federal Government should ring alarm bells for all Australians, according to Southern Riverina Irrigators chair Chris Brooks.

Issues around the water sale were raised on the television show The Project, which was titled Water Wars and raised concerns about the environmental benefit of the sale and the cost to taxpayers.

‘‘The whole issue of water purchasing and trading, including the impact it is having on Australia’s ability to continue growing food and fibre, needs serious investigation,’’ Mr Brooks said.

‘‘However, more than anything it is the latest in a long line of concerns around the way we are distributing our precious water resources.

‘‘Under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan we have clearly got it wrong — whether it is questionable water purchases, storing over-bank flows, ruining river banks, native fish kills, or providing ideal conditions to breed European carp, it is obvious our water managers have made a mess of the basin plan.

‘‘The only thing they haven’t been able to do is ’fess up.’’

Mr Brooks described the need to pause the basin plan as ‘‘bleedingly obvious’’ so it could be reviewed and revised.

‘‘In the farming world when you make a mistake you must acknowledge it, learn from it and make sure you don’t do it again,’’ he said.

‘‘In the world of water management, it seems they make a mistake, refuse to admit it, then sit back and wait for the next mistake to rear its ugly head.

‘‘Unfortunately, along the way they are ruining livelihoods, wrecking environments they are supposed to be protecting and threatening the safe, sustainable food supply the Australian farmers have delivered for generations.

‘‘In this latest revelation there are claims the Federal Government has spent $80million on the purchase of fake water. All taxpayers should be outraged at the possibility their hard-earned money has been squandered.

‘‘What more evidence do we need that this disastrous basin plan needs to be paused, reviewed and revised?’’