Partnership to benefit environment, economy
Local productive water stakeholder groups having been saying it for a long time, and today’s front page story suggests we’re starting to see some headway.
There are opportunities for win:win partnerships between the ever-important local irrigation industry and environmental outcomes.
Food production supports the local economy like no other industry, yet our natural environment has to be protected for future generations. But there has to be a balance between the two.
Without a strong economy and job creation, there will be very few ‘future generations’ locally to enjoy their protected natural surrounds — the area becomes desolate. One thing we have learned from the ‘lock-up’ of local forests is that city people don’t flock to them just because they are now ‘National Parks’ (despite what we were told by the Labor Government of the time).
Using Murray Irrigation as a conduit for environmental water makes sense and supports the local economy at the same time.
The company has the infrastructure in place and the skilled people to effectively deliver the water, and at the same time the revenue generated assists the company to slug its traditional customers, its shareholders and the regional economy.
The reality is, if the government hadn’t taken about 30 per cent of water from local food producers for the environment, Murray Irrigation would more than likely still be posting profitable results year on year. At the moment it’s not.
In fairness, take 30 per cent of volume from any business and see how it goes making ends meet.
Murray Irrigation is one of the largest employees in Deniliquin and its prosperity is hugely important to the town’s economy. This partnership helps ensure its future, and in some ways it’s disappointing it has taken so long for such an arrangement to be struck.
But it is surely a step in the right direction in bridging the ‘great green divide’.
There are several other win:win partnerships that have been put forward by local food production stakeholder groups in recent years.
There has been a clear mandate set by these groups of an acceptance of environmental needs, provided those needs take into account the social and economic fabric of local communities.
Once a similar mandate is truly reciprocated and acted upon (not simply written on paper and quoted to the press) by the bureaucrats driving water policies such as the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, then we can all move forward and prosper, environment included.
The Murray Irrigation partnership is hopefully the catalyst for a new way forward.