Political move at the expense of Irrigators
reliability of General Security entitlements in the Murrumbidgee and NSW Murray
valleys will be permanently reduced if the NSW Legislative Council drought of
record motion is implemented.
Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia is absolutely opposed to any action that needlessly
erodes the capacity to grow food and fibre,” said RGA President Rob Massina.
be a massive blow to our general security irrigators who are already dealing
with the impacts of multiple policy changes eroding their water.”
seeks to update modelling to take into account more recent droughts, ostensibly
to protect town water supplies. In the NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys,
this means factoring in the worst years of the Millennium Drought.
Drought Reserve Accounts were already established in the NSW Murray and
Murrumbidgee valleys following the Millennium Drought precisely to protect town
water. NSW Government management plans developed since further mitigate the
So all the motion
does is reduce the volume of water available on paper to allocate for growing
food and fibre, without making any difference to security of supply for towns.
will inevitably lead to less water for general security allocation because the model
will assume another Millennium Drought is always around the corner, requiring
more water to be locked away in drought reserves even in average and wet years.
as most inflows occur in late winter to early spring, the update to the inflow
modelling would have the greatest impact on these months, meaning allocations
will be made later in the season, too late for planting rice and other summer
all, this motion would see less water
made available for General Security irrigators, and a further reduction to
water use across the system, further contributing to the underusage problem
identified by SunRice and the RGA in the RMCG report commissioned last year,
undermining of the reliability of property rights” said Mr Massina
was proposed by independent NSW MP, Justin Field, and supported by the NSW
Labor Opposition, One Nation, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, the Animal
Justice Party and the Greens.
politicians have either chosen to ignore the risk to regional economies, or are
otherwise seeking a political win, at the expense of our general security
allocation and irrigators.
the NSW Minister for Water is not required to act on this motion per se, and
the RGA has written to the Minister to make it clear that our growers, industry
and communities cannot support these proposed changes,” Mr Massina