A coalition of a dozen industry and community groups - including Cotton Australia - has rejected proposed changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, saying 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 caught up with Julia Telford recently, owner of Engage & Create Consulting and Chair of Care Goondiwindi, a social services hub based in Goondiwindi, Queensland.
On the importance of irrigation water to Northern Basin communities, Ms Telford says that a downturn in irrigated agriculture and water buybacks in these communities hits all businesses, whether it’s in Goondiwindi, St George, and Dirranbandi and all right across the Basin.
“In fact there are examples of communities like Collarenebri [north western NSW] where these decisions have decimated a community and we can’t afford in regional and remote communities for Collarenebri to happen anywhere else,” Ms Telford says.
“The call to action that we are asking for now and that communities are putting forward now really need to be dealt with now because otherwise we will still have years of uncertainty, lack of confidence, people not wanting to invest in communities both financially and with their families.”
In the coming months, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority will make a critical decision about the future of the Northern Basin.
Between the 30th November and the 9th of December, 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 find your nearest community meeting