Australia needs to continue producing clean, green, quality food for domestic and international consumption.
Australian farmers are among the most efficient in the world, using modern technology to produce food and fibre that is in demand in our country, as well as overseas.
In doing so they are making a huge contribution to the nation’s economy, which is generally recognised.
But how well known is the need for food and fibre producers to have access to reliable, affordable water?
The Speak Up campaign — a community-driven campaign in the NSW Murray region — has produced a booklet highlighting some of the issues around food production and water availability.
It is titled ‘Food Grows Where Water Flows’ and was published for Speak Up by Deniliquin Newspapers Pty Ltd.
Speak Up spokesperson Shelley Scoullar said there has been a lot of public discussion about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and the need to provide water for the environment.
But unfortunately it has developed largely into a political fight, instead of a genuine attempt to find common-sense solutions to balancing environmental and productive water needs.
‘‘We all want environmental flows that protect our river systems for future generations, however we also need to protect our producers and the regional communities which rely on them for their existence,’’ Mrs Scoullar said.
‘‘In the fight to score political points this has been lost. There is enough water for the environment and producers, but we need a more sensible and balanced approach to its distribution.
‘‘The booklet explains some of the issues around water, including its environmental value for flora and wildlife on farms, which is often overlooked.
‘‘It provides information about various agricultural organisations in the NSW Murray, plus some personal stories from people who live and work in our region.’’
A copy of the booklet is inserted in today’s edition of Pastoral Times.
Additional copies are available from various outlets, or can be ordered through the Speak Up campaign website www.speakup4water.com.
Mrs Scoullar said she wanted to thank Deniliquin Newspapers Pty Ltd for their professional work that has made the booklet a reality, and the many businesses and organisations which provided sponsorship.