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Farmers stress importance of legislating cap on water buybacks

10 March 2015

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) said today that legislating the cap on water buybacks under the Murray Darling Basin Plan to 1500 gigalitres (GL) is of utmost importance to irrigation communities.

NFF Water Taskforce Chair, Les Gordon, said the decision to cap water buybacks under the Plan to 1500GL has been a stand-alone policy commitment of the Coalition since before 2012.

“We are pleased to see Ministers Greg Hunt and Barnaby Joyce and Parliamentary Secretary Bob Baldwin reiterate the Government’s commitment to the 1500GL cap, and indicate that amendments will be tabled to the Water Act 2007 – giving full effect to this policy,” Mr Gordon said.

“Water buybacks hurt the rural and regional communities that rely on irrigated agriculture. As such, a legislated cap is an important signal from the Government to these communities that it values their views, understands the impacts, and is prepared to stand up and do something about it.

“The NFF will be seeking support from the Labor Party and crossbench to achieve legislative change. Supporting the changes would demonstrate their commitment to a Basin Plan that is capable of achieving good environmental outcomes, while also taking steps to reduce the social and economic impacts of the Plan on affected communities.

“We look forward to working with the Government to secure the passage of legislation through the Senate to enshrine the Cap as law as soon as possible.”

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