Opinion

Water policy must be fixed so 75 million people can actually be fed

By Rodney Woods

By Laurelle Sheedy, Bankstown, NSW

The inconvenient truths are coming home to roost.

While politicians will have you believe the shortage of staple foods is due to panic buying, what they don’t want to acknowledge is that this is only part of the problem.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud tells us we produce enough food for 75 million people.

He conveniently neglects to say this figure is based on past production.

In recent years, his government has allowed water to be flooded into forests and poured out to sea instead of being productively used to grow food.

As a consequence our national rice producer, SunRice, has to import this essential product because the crop grown by our farmers — recognised as the most efficient in the world — has been close to zero for two years and heading towards the trifecta.

Its leaders are screaming out for water so farmers can grow a crop in 2020, but thus far its calls fall on deaf ears.

There isn’t enough Durum wheat being grown to fill our pasta needs.

We are importing dairy products at the same time as we watch dairy farmers exit the industry in droves, unable to afford the essential ingredient — water — to grow fodder for their cows.

But still our political leaders remain in denial, because solutions to the mess they have created might cause a stir in the cities and potentially threaten environmental votes in marginal seats.

Wake up Australia! Read the latest government reports that tell us summer crop plantings have decreased by 66 per cent with frightening declines in some staple foods.

Yes, we can grow enough food for 75 million people. But we are not doing it any more because governments have made the biggest mess imaginable of water policy.

If you want our children and their children, as they grow into adulthood, to rely on food from China and other countries that do not have our clean green reputation, let the status quo remain.

If not, we must all fight for our farmers and force our politicians to admit the indisputable ‘inconvenient truth’ — they have bungled water policy and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and it must be fixed.