Ricegrowers’ raise concerns about operational matters in the NSW Murray with Inspector-General. 

3 September 2021

The NSW allocation announcements on Wednesday 1 September 2021 were once again extremely disappointing for irrigators in both the Murray and Murrumbidgee systems. 

President of the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA), Rob Massina has written to the Honourable Troy Grant, Inspector-General of Water Compliance. To raise the ongoing concerns of licence holders across the Murray-Darling Basin and the impact on the property rights of all general security water entitlement holders.

Mr Massina said “while the impacts have been experienced in real-time by our members for many years, for this season in particular, the facts have become undeniable.”

“The southern Basin is in the midst of a potentially very bountiful period of above average rainfall; however allocations to General Security licence holders – on the NSW Murray especially – remain concerningly low.”

The letter written to the Inspector-General raised discrepancies and concerns from the recent allocation announcement whilst providing evidence sourced from the MDBA and NSW Government. 

Mr Massina stated that “available water across the southern Basin is now sitting at close to 8,000 GL in the latest NSW allocation statement. This water is not reasonably showing up in allocation improvements in the NSW Murray.”

“NSW has consistently received approximately 40% of all available water every year since at least 1 July 2015. By this reckoning, NSW should have received an additional 415 GL since mid-August this year.”

“The RGA Water Committee can’t find a meaningful explanation for why this significant discrepancy is occurring in such a wet year.”

“We have a small window to improve this situation, and we’re urgently seeking the assistance of the Inspector-General to identify the anomalies in operational decision-making between the MDBA and NSW Government.”

“These decisions can, and do, change on a regular basis. Decisions can be changed this year, which aren’t out of the current legislative or policy bounds, but which would dramatically improve the circumstances of our members” said Mr Massina.