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Water buyback cap delivers certainty for farmers

14 September 2015

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today welcomed the passing of Commonwealth legislation to cap water buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan at 1500 gigalitres (GL).

NFF Water Taskforce Chair Les Gordon said the peak farm body has long advocated for this key election commitment to be met, since first promised by the Government over two years ago.

“The 1500GL cap provides farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) with some much-needed certainty on future water availability to sustain their business without compromising on environmental outcomes,” said NFF Water Taskforce chair Les Gordon.

“The bipartisan support for the 1500GL cap on water buybacks gives farmers and processors in the basin more confidence to continue investing in agriculture. Today’s announcement shows that the Parliament has listened to these communities and responded to some of their concerns.”

The legislation comes at an important time for many farming families emerging from prolonged drought and a long period of destabilisation surrounding the implementation of the Plan.

“Farming communities in the MDB have demonstrated a strong commitment to water efficiency while working through one of the most significant and difficult water reforms in living memory. They now lead the way globally in terms of efficient irrigation and sustainability,” Mr Gordon said.

The focus now turns to managing the recovery of water required to ‘bridge the gap’ between previous levels of extraction and the requirements of the Basin Plan.

“We now urge all parties to support this long awaited outcome, which delivers a solid foundation for future adaptation,” Mr Gordon said.

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