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Australian cotton industry’s plea to Canberra

Cotton Australia has called on all parties to put politicking aside and heed the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) call to allow the Murray Darling Basin Plan time to deliver on its promise.

It has also been reported that Federal Labor intends to back the Greens in the Disallowance Motion which, in effect, will increase the Northern Basin recovery target by 70 Gigalitres.

“If the media reports concerning Labor’s willingness to support the Disallowance Motion are correct, this is an extremely troubling development,” says Cotton Australia General Manager, Michael Murray. “It would indicate that Labor is willing to support the loss of 180 jobs in Basin communities for the sake of short-term political expediency.”

“Furthermore, it makes a mockery of the Murray Darling Basin Plan process, which established the MDBA as an adjudicator on water recovery targets and processes. The Disallowance Motion effectively sends the message that the Greens and Labor are rejecting the umpire’s decision.”

Mr Murray says if the Disallowance Motion is successful, it would wind back the Murray Darling Basin Plan’s achievements and threaten its future viability.

In a statement released yesterday (5/2/18), MDBA Chief Executive Phillip Glyde responded to recent calls to halt the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).

“Phillip Glyde and the MDBA made a plea for common sense to prevail, and we agree. The Basin Plan is a mechanism to overcome a century of mismanagement, it can’t be expected to produce instant results. And yet, in its short existence, it has already made tangible gains.”

“As the MDBA points out, the Plan has already recovered more than 2100GL of water for the environmental health of the system, with 700Gl of that coming from water infrastructure efficiency programs.”

“The ‘Murray-Darling Basin Declaration’ would almost be laughable, if the issue was not so serious. The Declaration calls for the Government to set up an independent body to adjudicate on the health of the Basin, but that is exactly what happened a decade ago when the Murray-Darling Basin Authority was established.”

“If criticism is to be levelled at the Basin Plan, it should focus on the time taken to implement worthwhile complementary measures, which could be deployed in place of the water buybacks which have negatively impacted many rural communities.”

“However, over the past 12 months groups representing irrigating farmers have been heartened by the willingness of the Government and the Murray Darling Basin Authority to consider these alternative measures, such as the introduction of the Carp herpes virus.”

“Our justified concern is that environmental extremists have an agenda to derail the MDBP completely, a scenario which can only deliver even greater economic and social uncertainty and pain to Basin communities already negatively impacted by the implementation of the Basin Plan.”

“The Murray Darling Basin Plan is a fine balancing act that took years to negotiate and implement – it must be given the opportunity to succeed.”

Source: Cotton Australia

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