Local farmers are bitterly disappointed at the lack of changes to the revised Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).
The Murray – Darling Basin Authority released more than 300 proposed changes to its draft plan on May 28, however the plan doesn’t propose any change to a planned water recovery target of 2750 gigalitres per year.
Griffith Mayor and Murrumbidgee Valley Stakeholder Group spokesman, Mike Neville said he viewed the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s twenty weeks of community consultation as a complete waste of time.
“Clearly they went in to this process with their mind already made up, how else could you justify a plan barely changed after they received some 12000 submissions,” Cr Neville
“According to the MDBA the impacts of the plan will be modest and in fact they are even espousing there will be more jobs as a result of the plan
and increased agricultural
“Honestly if the matter
wasn’t so serious it would be laughable.
“They have completely ignored our call to put a halt to community damaging buyback and for further water recovery to be mainly through infrastructure works and by more efficient watering of wetlands and river operations”
Cr Neville said the revised MDBP is just another example of a heartless government body out of touch with the people it’s supposed to serve.
“The MDBA is justifying stripping water from productive agriculture by talking about percentages; it’s just a 1% decrease here and a 3% there,” he said.
“It’s time to wake up; you are talking about real people, with real jobs, real families and real concerns about their future.
“A future with less water means a less productive future, so how can a government say they have big plans for making Australia a food superbowl while at the same time be single-handedly destroying the capacity for us to do so.
“All we want to see is a balanced plan that works not only in the smaller communities but also on a national level.”
NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said some communities in the state’s south would still be affected under the revised draft plan.
“There will be serious socio-economic impacts as a result of the basin plan on NSW communities,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“This is grossly underestimated by the authority’s own economic modelling.”
She said few changes had been made in the revised plan.
“The Murray-Darling Basin Authority thinks it can just republish virtually the same information and assume the community will accept this,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“It appears the authority has no ability to develop a genuine plan to manage the health of the Murray- Darling Basin.”
The ministerial council now has six weeks to formally respond to the revised plan, and Federal water minister Tony Burke, who has the final say on whether to adopt the plan, is expected to put the final document before parliament by the end of the year.
Under the revised plan, the Murrumbidgee Valley will lose close to a third of its annual water allocation.