FARMERS across parts of southern and south-west Queensland and northern NSW have today launched a national campaign to save their communities from the impacts of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).
The multi-media campaign, which will be hosted on the new Australian Farmers website, highlights the pain already suffered by Basin towns and farm-businesses at the hands of the Basin Plan while demonstrating the further damage it will inflict if rolled out in its current form.
The campaign coincides with the lead-up to the conclusion of the Northern Basin Review, with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) due to make its final decision on the Review in October.
The campaign also builds on the significant work already undertaken by irrigation-dependent communities across the Northern Basin to shed light on these issues and to strive for a better solution.
Cotton Australia general manager and campaign spokesperson, Michael Murray, said some communities had already experienced losses of full-time employment of up to 35 per cent as a result of the implementation of the Basin Plan.
“Enough is enough. The simply ‘just add water’ approach already in place does not work in the Northern Basin and must be abandoned,” Mr Murray said.
“Already 278 gigalitres of water has been recovered from these communities and we call on the MDBA to recommend that the Government adjusts the Plan so that recovery stops now.
“The campaign we have launched today provides ample evidence as to why this should be done as a matter of priority.”
Mr Murray said a range of complementary measures existed which had capacity to leverage the maximum amount of environmental improvement from the water already held, and provided a common sense alternative to further water recovery.
“These measures can achieve better outcomes for the river without the unnecessary destruction of our country towns,” he said.
“They include cold water pollution mitigation via thermal curtains on headwater storages, feral animal control in wetlands and marshes, re-snagging to improve native fish habitats and the introduction of fishways along the length of the Barwon-Darling.
“Strategies such as the carp herpes virus to reduce the infestation of European Carp could be the greatest benefit that we can give the river.
“We now urge all members of the public to join with us in stopping the destruction of communities in the Northern Basin. Governments must understand it is possible to achieve environmental outcomes without sacrificing our communities.”
The Australian Farmers campaign is supported by National Farmers’ Federation, Cotton Australia, NSW Farmers, AgForce Queensland, NSW Irrigators’ Council, Queensland Farmers’ Federation, National Irrigators’ Council, Gwydir Valley Irrigators’ Association Inc, Border Rivers Food & Fibre, Smartrivers, Macquarie River Food & Fibre, Namoi Water.