Photo source: Country News

RGA Welcomes MDBA Chair, Sir Angus Houston

01/10/2020

The RGA and SunRice welcomed the newly appointed Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority, Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston to the Riverina, at the SunRice Leeton offices on Monday.

Sir Angus was accompanied by the CEO of the MBDA, Phillip Glyde, the newly appointed Deputy Secretary of the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, Lyn O’Connell, as well as several other staff members from both government agencies.

This engagement provided the RGA with the opportunity to reinforce our concerns about the impacts of water reform on the Australian rice industry and growers.

The RGA are seeking changes that will bring a greater level of fairness and equity in the distribution of reform impacts, better recognition of the highly variable nature of Australian water resources and genuine and meaningful community co-design and participation in future water reform.

Rob Massina, RGA President said “The Riverina rice industry; which produces 98% of the rice grown in Australian, has developed over nearly a century to be a world leader in yield, product quality, innovation and water efficiency. However water reform, and in particular the rigid legislative framework governing the Murray Darling Basin Plan, has placed the rice industry, our growers and our communities under unprecedented pressure to remain sustainable.”

“The architects of the Basin Plan promised irrigators certainty. However at the moment, the future for annual irrigation has never been more uncertain and complicated.”

“In particular, we highlighted that general security irrigators in the NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee valleys bear the brunt of reduced inflows and allocations, increasing demand from expanding irrigation development driving up water prices, the impacts of past water recovery and recent drought. The viability of our region and its irrigation prosperity is at significant risk” said Mr Massina.

“As the independent authority it is critical that the MDBA represent good policy for ALL water users. For the rice industry, this means working with us to resolve our key issues raised including our concerns about the erosion of reliability of water entitlements, the increased river losses in the Murray River system, and the lack of transparency around the State sharing of water resources.”