Water

Senator could be ‘last hope’ for struggling irrigators

By Rodney Woods

NSW Senator Perin Davey has been described as "probably the last hope" for achieving balanced water policy that supports the region’s food producers.

Senator Davey has called for an investigation into "how to better manage our precious resources so we can get more sustainable outcomes for farmers without compromising the environment and vice versa".

Speak Up deputy chair Lachlan Marshall, who has had recent discussions with Senator Davey, said it was imperative she kept up the fight on behalf of struggling food producers in her region.

“Senator Davey last week highlighted concerns from the Independent Social and Economic Panel which has found river communities are suffering,” he said.

“We have had numerous other reports calling for changes to the basin plan, yet they keep falling on deaf ears.

“We have no doubt the Murray-Darling Basin Authority is desperately trying to save its very existence, but this organisation is not implementing the fair and balanced basin plan that we were promised.

“We were told it would be flexible and adaptive, but that is certainly not the case.”

Mr Marshall said his group understood the position Senator Davey was in.

“We welcome the support from Senator Davey and we understand that it will be extremely difficult for her to convince National Party colleagues that they must start standing up for our communities,” he said.

“But I think she is probably our last hope.

“We are relying on Senator Davey to convince her parliamentary colleagues that the ‘line in the sand’ must be drawn immediately, before more damage to these communities.

“The starting point should be adopting the Productivity Commission recommendation and splitting up the MDBA.

“We need to scrap this organisation and start again, demanding that our bureaucrats protect the nation’s food-producing interests.”