With catastrophic weather conditions and bushfires affecting so much of NSW at the moment, it’s easy to forget the big policy debates going on in the background that could have a big impact on our farms and our districts over the coming months and years.
The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is one of those issues. On November 22, 2012, Tony Burke, the Federal Water Minister, released the final Murray-Darling Basin Plan declaring that “this was the day that Australia decided to restore the Murray-Darling to health”.
Farmers and basin communities however have always valued, respected and contributed to the environmental, economic and social health of the basin. And we will continue to do so, providing the policy settings are right.
This week’s announcement that the NSW government has made good on its promise to cap the purchase of water licences for environmental purposes in NSW is good news for farmers and basin communities.
The cap will help our communities adjust to the new requirements placed in the basin plan. Depending where you live, your views on the basin plan might range from disinterest to devastation. If you’re from a purpose-built irrigation district like mine, this debate has been foremost in our mind for years, and will continue to be as we prepare for the 2019 implementation period.
We have a long road ahead of us, but by working together, we can hopefully ensure that a lasting, balanced solution is delivered.
Helen DaltonBoard memberNSW Farmers’ Association