20th April 2007AgForce water spokesman, Kim Bremner, says the Prime Minister’s one-size-fits-all approach to cutting allocations to zero for Murray Darling Basin irrigators unnecessarily penalises farmers.
Mr Bremner says water use should be determined by availability within individual catchments.
Prime Minister John Howard’s announcement yesterday sent shockwaves through the farming sector.
But Mr Bremner says a blanket ban approach is not the right move as treating irrigators across Queensland, NSW and Victoria as one is flawed.
“You need to be very cautious in administering a ban such as this as some catchments are capable of fulfilling urban water needs and also irrigators’ needs who are producing food and fibre for the nation,’” he said.
The announcement has puzzled many Queenslanders, as most irrigators in that State are already on limited or zero allocations.
“Under Queensland’s water planning – which has inbuilt drought contingencies – urban water supplies are given top priority, meaning rural water supplies have already been cut to provide water for urban use,” he said.
“As a result, water in major southern Queensland storages – which are nearly all below 20pc – has been directed solely to urban use.”
SOURCE: Rural Press National News Service, Parliament House Bureau, Canberra.