...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 spoke to Samantha O'Toole, Councillor at Balonne Shire Council and owner of Balonne Airwork, who says there has been significant impacts on the communities of St George and Dirranbandi with the current level of water buybacks as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
Ms O’Toole says that the community cannot take any more water buybacks as part of the Northern Basin Review.
“Currently with the buybacks that have occurred to date, we have lost a quarter of our business turnover to buybacks in the district. It’s pretty to project that [given]… we are only half way to our target, and if we go twice that we are looking at a 50% reduction in our business turnover. It will be very difficult to trade [going] forward,” Ms O’Toole says.
Ms O’Toole also says that local community members in the Balonne Shire are big champions for the river system who care for the health of the river system.
“All we are asking for is a fair go.”
“Local businesses really just want to get on with running their businesses and providing for their families and communities,” Ms O’Toole says.
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 find your nearest community meeting
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