IN THIS SECTION:
National Water Commission report a wake-up call to Govts
9 October 2009
“WHEN it comes to water reform in Australia, governments have failed to do what they said they would do – and it is irrigators and regional communities are hurting as a result,” National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President David Crombie said today as the National Water Commission (NWC) released its report card on the progress of reform.
“More certainty, more information and more transparency are desperately needed to give irrigators and their communities the confidence to do what they are proven to be good at... produce food and fibre with ever-scarce water resources.
“These were key take-out messages from NWC’s independent assessment, of how governments are tracking on their national water reform commitments.”
The report is the first independent assessment of water policy since the Federal Government took over significant responsibility from the States, including Basin planning, water pricing and trading, and the management of environmental flows.
“As for the States, it is now five years since the National Water Initiative was signed and 15 years into a national water reform agenda,” Mr Crombie added. “On a positive note, there has been progress in areas such as the development of a market for water and there are opportunities, particularly through the development of the new Basin Plan, to resolve so called over allocation in order to give irrigators confidence in their future.
“However, the Murray Darling Basin Authority needs to provide much more information on where they are up to in the development of this new basin cap. At the moment a significant information vacuum exists – it must be filled or there is the risk of even more angst and uncertainty in regional communities about what their future may look like.
“Further, today’s report highlights that for farmers and the communities that rely on them, many key water reform pillars remain either lagging or poorly implemented. The report backs up NFF concerns it has taken to governments for years, such as:
“The NFF understands this report will be presented to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). COAG owes it to regional communities and the irrigation sector, which feeds, clothes and employs the nation, to seriously address the report’s findings and fast-track fixing the deficiencies... not do what they have done for too long and just shelve it.”
Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250.
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