Irrigators welcome passage of Water Bill


“The Basin Plan is where the detail affecting irrigators and the communities that rely on them will be contained.

“Each day of delay in the passage of this legislation was a day less that we have for preparation of the Basin Plan.

“The council has reiterated its message about stakeholder engagement in preparing the plan.

“The plan must be broad reaching – environmental sustainability is vitally important, but social and economic factors must have equal consideration.

“Irrigators, basin communities and Australians in general must have the opportunity to weigh these interests to decide the future that we want for ourselves and our export partners.”

Mr Gregson, in acknowledging that the bill is imperfect, said council has raised three issues in particular, which are:

  • The definition of critical human need is far too wide.
  • There should be an annual extraction limit placed on the South Australian carryover.
  • Climate change should not be precluded from being new knowledge.

“Despite these imperfections, timely passage of the Bill was more important for us,” he said.

“Council acknowledged the efforts of Nationals Senators to correct these imperfections.

“Council also noted the alignment of rural peak bodies through the course of this matter.

“The council has worked closely with the NSW Irrigators Council and the NFF to ensure progress of this Bill.

“We also acknowledge the efforts of the VFF in their state.”