A coalition of a dozen industry and community groups - including Cotton Australia - has rejected proposed changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
The proposal to reduce the water recovery target from 390 GL to 320 GL in the north would still take too much water from production and hurt communities as a result.
Cotton Australia spoke to Ian Cole, Chair of Darling River Food and Fibre and Councillor at Bourke Shire Council, who is born and bred in Bourke, NSW, and has seen first-hand the impacts of water buybacks right along the Barwon-Darling.
Ian is calling on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to "get the balance right" between social, economic and environmental considerations as it finalises its Northern Basin Review.
On complementary measures, Mr Cole says that “if we want to get extra [environmental] improvements, there are all sorts of things we can do”, instead of purchasing more water with a ‘no regrets’ policy.
“One of the biggest problems with the Murray-Darling Basin system is the spread of invasive species, particularly European Carp. Take them out of the system and give the native [Australian] fish a fair go, like yellow belly, silver perch, eel-tailed catfish. To bring them back and produce a healthier river – we need to get rid of the European Carp.”
“For fish breeding and spawning, we need to be able to get fish upstream. They like to travel upstream. Putting fish ladders on weirs is another way we can help the fish population.”
Ian also called on Barnaby Joyce to visit Northern Basin communities to see what exactly is going on, and says that the Government should “forget about taking more water” as “outback areas have suffered enough”.
In the coming months, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority will make a critical decision about the future of the Northern Basin.
Between November 30 and December 9, the MDBA will hold 11 community meetings across northern NSW and southern Queensland. We encourage irrigators, business owners and members of the broader community to attend these meetings so that the MDBA can hear your views and concerns.
Click here to learn more about the #MoreThanFlow campaign
Click here to find your nearest community meeting