Deniliquin farmer calls for emergency water allocation

By Rodney Woods

A distressed farmer has called for an emergency situation to be declared in the food producing regions of northern Victoria and southern NSW.

Alan Wragge, who farms near Deniliquin, said he did not believe politicians were aware of the desperate plight that farmers were struggling with.

He said the emergency situation should coincide with an emergency allocation of water to help save family farms, as well as businesses in the rural communities which rely on their region’s farming income.

Mr Wragge thought he would get some relief this month when the Federal Government announced its Water for Fodder program, but was unsuccessful in the ballot — which he described as “an absolute disgrace and another kick in the guts from politicians and bureaucrats”.

“They simply do not understand; they just don’t have any comprehension of how tough it is for many farmers, nor the frustration being felt at knowing water is being wasted, but having no access to it,” he said.

“I watch as water rushes down the Murray beyond the river’s capacity, flooding forests along the way.

“Then it gets down to the Lower Lakes where it helps breed carp, before being poured out into the sea.

“And while this is happening I can’t feed my stock.

“Waste of this magnitude should be a criminal offence.”

He said there was no reasonable justification for providing water under the Water for Fodder program to South Australian farmers who are on 100 per cent allocation, while those in NSW on zero allocation missed out.

“I thought I would at least get some water to grow feed for my sheep, but instead cheap water went to those who already have an abundant supply,” Mr Wragge said.

“Tell me how that’s fair?

“And for this to happen the week before Christmas makes it an even greater insult.

“It seems politicians, and the bureaucrats who advise them, have all lost touch with what they must do to care for people.

“In these extreme conditions, conveyance losses must be worn by the environment, instead of food producers.

“Declaring an emergency and providing some water to all those in Victoria and NSW who missed out in the Water for Fodder program through the redistribution of conveyance losses would make a massive difference to those in the present dire situation.”