Acknowledging need for greater transparency and water literacy welcomed

By Country News

Murray-Darling Basin Water Resources Interim Inspector-General Mick Keelty's acknowledgment of a need for greater transparency and to improve water literacy has been welcomed by many in the industry.

VFF Water Council chair Richard Anderson said the report provided clear information about a complex issue.

“We are pleased to have some clear facts that farmers can understand,” he said.

“We need to make sure information is updated and continues to be made available to irrigators and farming communities.”

Congupna grain farmer Craig Reynolds agreed with Mr Keelty that greater transparency was needed.

“There’s a lack of understanding of water markets in the general community, but most farmers know the water market price at any given time,” he said.

“I think there should be something like the ASX for the trading of water.

“There’s definitely brokers who try to manipulate the water, and that would add to transparency.”

Wyuna dairy farmer Russell Pell said a greater focus on water literacy was also important.

“There are a lot of misconceptions flying around and education is always a good thing to get everyone on the same wavelength,” he said.

“One thing it does say to me is that most of us have known that the Lower Lakes are unsustainable because of how little water is coming from the Murrumbidgee and the Darling (rivers).

“After (Mr) Keelty spelt out that only half the water is coming into the Murray catchment that used to be, proves the Lower Lakes are unsustainable.”

Northern Victorian Irrigation Communities president Dudley Bryant said the report was a good document to reference in years ahead, but it looked like it was written by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

“The government had a change of heart once Littleproud (former Federal Water Minister David Littleproud) was taken away from water, and they saw the opportunity to soften the report,” Mr Bryant said.

“Mr Keelty originally promised much more than he delivered.”

Mr Bryant said the recommendations should be followed through to the letter to generate change.

Goulburn Valley Environment Group president John Pettigrew agreed that it would be a good referencing tool and was pleased with the report overall.

“I think the document as a whole could be used as an education tool,” he said.

“I haven't seen a report in the past that has tried to explain all water entitlements and how they are delivered.

“The document as a whole was a highlight.”