Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has welcomed the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council’s agreed terms of reference for an independent analysis of socio-economic impacts of the Plan in the southern Basin.
Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville said Victoria was working with the other States and the Commonwealth to deliver an outcome which benefits farmers, regional communities, and the environment.
“Given the level of community concern about further water recovery we need to be making evidence based decisions to ensure that we are delivering on the triple bottom line outcomes,” said Ms Neville.
The comprehensive assessment will ensure neutral or improved socio-economic outcomes that go beyond the specific legal requirements of the Basin Plan for the additional 450 gigalitres of water (above the target of 2,750 gigalitres).
Chair of the ADIC Water Taskforce, Daryl Hoey attended the forum with Ministers in Mildura where the input of stakeholders was acknowledged.
Daryl Hoey said that there will be serious implications for the dairy industry if any more water is removed from the collective pool i.e. north and south, without first understanding the impact it will have to every district including South Australia, Queensland, northern New South Wales, and Victoria.
“We agree with government that the Basin plan needs to protect all water uses – which is why it’s critical that we understand what the different water recovery levels mean for southern communities and the environment,” said Mr Hoey.
Agreement was also achieved on a way to secure the remaining 650 gigalitres of water required under the plan without any more buybacks of water.
ADF, along with the ADIC, has long advocated for a comprehensive review of the social-economic impact for the south.
The ADF is committed to working with government to improve the management of water in the Basin, achieve the necessary community buy-in, and achieve socio-economic outcomes while still meeting environmental targets.