Opinion

Fighting for affordable water

By Country News

Chris Brooks,

Barooga, NSW

I would like to clarify some comments made by Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley following media coverage of my decision to try and shake up the cosy political arrangements that are presently costing our nation billions of dollars.

Firstly, I want it made clear this action is purely due to the inaction from Ms Ley and her Coalition colleagues around the problems being faced by water management.

Myself, like many others, know there are viable and achievable solutions the politicians are avoiding.

Also, I don’t want to be a politician.

I want to be a food and fibre producer.

However, I am extremely limited in my preferred profession because Ms Ley and her colleagues refuse to provide adequate affordable water for myself and other producers across southern NSW and northern Victoria.

Please do not believe false claims there is no water available.

As Ms Ley knows, vast volumes have been flooded unnecessarily into forests and poured out to sea.

An utter waste that cannot be tolerated, causing environmental damage that unbelievably is not being called out by the Environment Minister.

Ms Ley also claims the Murray-Darling Basin Inspector-General Mick Keelty found in his report there is no water available.

It seems she missed the subsequent revelation from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, as I quote from her Coalition colleague Damian Drum, that “the amount of unallocated water is more like 375 Gl per year”.

Ms Ley tells us her “focus remains to work with all parts of the electorate to address water security issues”.

That is laughable.

She refuses to meet with myself or other executive members of Southern Riverina Irrigators to discuss and resolve our concerns.

She is also ignoring the floodplain harvesting issue which is destroying the Darling and crippling the Murray region economically and environmentally.

For the record, there is only one reason I am getting involved in politics — that is, I want to help and protect our farmers and the communities, because at present they are being let down as the sacrificial lambs for a disastrous Murray-Darling Basin Plan the Coalition Government will not fix.

However, I am prepared to issue a challenge to the Prime Minister and his Liberal/National Party colleagues, including Ms Ley.

Quite simply, if you are prepared to fix the basin plan and provide food producers in southern NSW and northern Victoria with sufficient affordable water to do our job properly and support our nation’s prosperity, I will willingly bow out of the political fight that is pending.

All we are asking is that you reverse the water wastage and improve water management so there is the equitable share that was promised (yes, PROMISED), when the basin plan was drafted.