Part­ner­ship to ben­e­fit en­vi­ron­ment, econ­omy

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - NEWS -

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.

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