The Basin Plan was always intended to be adaptive and to respond to new knowledge and science.
The RGA welcomes the Federal Governments' commitment to stop
water buybacks from farmers and put communities at the centre of water
reform. This is a step in the right direction and in line with findings
from the many reports and reviews that have been conducted.
The RGA, together with many other bodies and groups has long
campaigned for a more adaptive and flexible approach to the implementation of
the Basin Plan. “We also encourage Minister Pitt and Basin States to further
consider and implement recommendations from the reviews already completed and
those currently underway.” said Rob Massina, RGA President.
The RGA's policy position to stop buybacks is based on the fact
that all water recovery from productive use results in negative social and
economic impacts for basin communities and in particular, irrigation
communities. This truth is reinforced in the study of the Socio-Economic
Impacts of the Basin Plan, which finds a growing sense of hopelessness within
communities across the Murray-Darling Basin. The final
report, chaired by Robbie Sefton was also released by the Water
Minister Keith Pitt today.
Whilst this commitment from the Commonwealth and Coalition
governments has not been legislated, we encourage all basin states to work
towards securing this change into the future.
Mr Massina said that he was pleased the Minister acknowledged
that more time and flexibility was needed to deliver the Sustainable
Diversional Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) supply projects. These SDLAM
projects provide the best opportunity to deliver improved environmental
benefits whilst minimising the social and economic impact of the Basin Plan. It
is essential to get local communities involved to get these projects right,
without decimating our communities and industries along the way.
The RGA also welcomed the announcement to restructure the MDBA
by splitting its functions.
“The review of the National Water Initiative and the ACCC Review
of Water Markets will show that there is more to be done” said Mr Massina.
The RGA will continue to work towards outcomes that improve the
interests of rice growers, the rice industry and their communities.
Media Contacts: Robert
Massina, RGA President – 0448 999 288
Lambert, RGA Communications Manager - 0488 071 165