The MDBA’s decision on the Northern Basin Review will influence how the Basin Plan will be implemented in the northern regions of the Basin, and ultimately the success and vibrancy of those industries that rely on irrigation and the wellbeing of the communities they support.
Michael Murray, who leads the Australian Farmers' "More Than Flow" campaign, says the Northern Basin Review is a high-stakes game in the Basin. More Than Flow is supported by 12 farming organisations representing farmers from the St George to the Warren, and Cecil Plains to Bourke. (Participating organisations are listed below).
"The MDBA simply can't afford to get this wrong. The future of too many individuals, businesses and communities are at stake for the MDBA to ignore their demands for a fair share," Mr Murray says.
"By its own analysis, the MDBA knows that the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan has already caused job losses in rural communities - up to 35 percent in some towns - which is just unacceptable."
Mr Murray says irrigator groups, farming organisations and the supporters of the More Than Flow campaign expect the MDBA to show true leadership when it hands its recommendation to the Minister for Agriculture & Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce.
“It is apparent that the ‘just add water’ approach is unnecessarily harmful, and so much more can be done to improve environmental outcomes without the need to recover additional water," Mr Murray says.
“The Northern Basin Review is the MDBA’s last opportunity to not only get it right, but to ensure that genuine environmental outcomes can be achieved with the water that has already been recovered from production.”
“Mitigating cold water pollution from dams, fish passage over weirs, re-snagging, managing pests and invasive species such as carp, and land management activities in the riparian zone and in wetlands are all crucial to improving environmental outcomes in the Northern Basin."
“The Authority must recommend that water recovery stops now and that governments instead turn their focus to achieving environmental outcomes in a way that protects northern communities from any further impact.”
To support the campaign go to www.farmers.org.au/morethanflow
The #MoreThanFlow campaign is supported by the following organisations:
AgForce Queensland, Border Rivers Food & Fibre, Cotton Australia, Gwydir Valley Irrigators' Association, Macquarie River Food & Fibre, Namoi Water, National Farmers' Federation, National Irrigators' Council, NSW Farmers, NSW Irrigators' Council, Queensland Farmers' Federation, Smart Rivers.
Media Release [PDF]: Heat on Authority, Parliament to do the right thing by Murray Darling communities
* Banner image photo taken by Macquarie River Food & Fribre