Rethink required

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

The NSW Farmers Association has reiterated its support for a triple bottom line approach to water buybacks and the retention of the 1,500 gigalitre buyback cap following the announcement of Federal Labor’s policy for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

NSW Farmers’ president James Jackson said proposals to remove the legislated buyback cap, tear up the agreed triple bottom line approach and move compliance to a new, untested authority was of concern to farmers.

‘‘The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is far from perfect. But so too are the proposals from Labor, which would create havoc in regional communities in New South Wales that rely on the Murray Darling system,’’ Mr Jackson said.

‘‘Consistent with evidence given to a Senate committee earlier this year, New South Wales Farmers supports the legislated 1,500 gigalitre cap on water buybacks. We fought hard to have this included in the legislation and we will fight hard to see it is retained in full.’’

Mr Jackson said NSW Farmers is opposed to any changes to the triple-bottom line assessment protocol.

‘‘This important change, which Labor agreed to barely seven months ago, ensures that there can be no negative community impacts arising for water saving measures.

‘‘We are also concerned about the proposed role of Labor’s new Environmental Protection Authority and its responsibility for water compliance. The precise role of Labor’s proposed environmental police force has not been fully explained and the regional communities most likely to be impacted by it deserve to know exactly what it is proposed to do.

‘‘We urge Labor to rethink their proposals for the good of agriculture and our regional communities.’’