NSW Farmers has a busy year ahead with water issues and we’re now at a crucial point in the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).
NSW Farmers attended the latest meeting on the SDL offset projects in Jerilderie recently. The Association has met with NSW Regional Water Minister Niall Blair and the DPI Water senior team several times over the past few months and we will continue to deliver the message from irrigators on the ground that we cannot afford to lose any further water out of productive use. The Basin Ministerial Council met last week, and there was some positive progression about the social and economic reality of the additional 450GL, which NSW Farmers cautiously welcomes.
As a matter of urgency NSW Farmers is now working on our response to the latest draft pricing report from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). IPART released a draft determination for WaterNSW’s regulated water charges for the next four years. The new prices, when settled, are to begin on July 1 this year. Despite some relief for valleys where prices are set to decrease, the Murray Valley is set to wear a significant price rise. It appears this is mainly due to MDBA ‘pass-through’ charges. We oppose the MDBA passing through these costs on to irrigators. We believe that the Basin Plan costs should be borne by the community at large and that any shortfall in recovery should be borne by the NSW Government, as occurs in other Basin States. NSW Farmers will appear at the IPART hearing and will be putting forward this and other concerns.
My South West region stretches to Hay and Griffith in the west, down to the Victorian border (including Leeton, Narrandera, Coleambally, Jerilderie, Berrigan, Bunnaloo and Deniliquin) and I now also cover Wagga Wagga up to Gundagai and down to Albury (including Tumut, Lockhart, Urana and everywhere in between). Simone Norrie is the South West Regional Services Manager for NSW Farmers. You can contact Simone on 0427 773 495 or firstname.lastname@example.org