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FARMERS: VITAL STAKEHOLDERS IN WATER

6 November 2006

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is greatly encouraged by the joint meeting of the Prime Minster, State Premiers and Ministers responsible for water this week.

“Resource allocation issues are always fraught with difficulties - politically, socially and environmentally - NFF wants to make sure that Governments make these hard decisions using credible and independent information and with a clear understanding of what it means not only to the individual farmer, rural and regional communities but also to the nation,” NFF CEO Ben Fargher said.

"As a first priority, we need to ensure that towns which support regional communities have certainty over water supply.

"There must also be a clear strategy to effectively manage core breeding stock, permanent plantings and other production issues in order to protect Australia’s agricultural base through this unprecedented drought.

“Difficulties from continually changing the water allocations available to producers creates uncertainty and instability and undermines confidence at a time when people are under significant pressure.

“Governments have been encouraging farmers to prepare for drought through water management and planning. These farmers should not be disadvantaged because they have taken longer-term decisions.

“All stakeholders must work together cohesively to manage the current crisis. As such the NFF seeks to be centrally involved with these important issues to make Governments aware of the full implications of the decisions they make. This will be facilitated through appropriate consultation and the use of the best available information.

“The NFF Water Taskforce will meet in Canberra this week to discuss implementation of what farmers believe to be practicable measures to effectively manage this crisis.

“The implications of these decisions are important. Australian agriculture is vital to the economic wellbeing of the nation. When taking into account the vital flow-on effects of the industry, agriculture contributes around $103 billion-a-year in production which accounts for 12% of GDP and provides over 1.6 million jobs in Australian cities and regions.”

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan, NFF Public Affairs, (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250 email:

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