The RGA highlights the flaws in the Drought of Record Bill before the Parliamentary Inquiry
the RGA appeared before the NSW Upper House inquiry considering the Drought of
reiterated that the objective of the Drought of Record Bill is flawed and that
the Bill could result in the locking up of significant volumes of water,
estimated to be between 18 and 25% of effective allocation, for no good reason.
stated purpose of the Bill is to secure town water supplies. However, town
water supplies in the Murrumbidgee and NSW Murray are already adequately
secured through a number of water policy decisions made since the Millennium
Bill was introduced, the real impact would be to shift more water away from
irrigation to high priority water needs, despite these high priority water
needs already having sufficient supplies to carry them through the worst
drought on record.
than trying to maximise the outcomes we as a State can achieve with the limited
water resource available to us, the Bill seeks to reduce overall access to
water for all water users.
flies in the face of the principles set out in the 2004 National Water
Initiative, and the many water reform instruments developed since, which all
seek to maximise environmental, economic and social outcomes from water use.
also contradicts the NSW and Federal Governments current aims of stimulating
the economy in order to recover from Covid-19. The agricultural sector will
play a significant role in driving the economy forward. Further limiting
irrigation production for no good reason is nonsensical considering this
current economic context.
proposed Bill seeks to apply a blanket policy change across all valleys in the
State, without any detailed consideration of the real impacts of the policy
changes at a valley level. Each valley in NSW is unique and policy changes
should take into account the characteristics of, and rules regulating, each
Government has now commenced the development of regional water strategies for
each valley. Security and availability of water supply will be a key issue
analysed through this process. To pre-empt the outcome of this piece of work
with a blanket policy change not founded on any analysis at a valley-by-valley
level is foolhardy.
therefore urges the Committee Members to recommend that the Bill not proceed
further, and that future water management Bills be based upon detailed analysis
of impacts, and formulated in close consultation with the many stakeholders
impacted by water management in NSW
Ricegrowers' Association of Australia
Media Enquiries: Rob Massina - 0448 999 288 - President
Belinda Lambert - 0488 071 165 - Communications Manager