We need wa­ter trans­parency

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION -

As a food pro­ducer in the NSW Mur­ray Val­ley, my main aim is to ac­cess wa­ter to put onto my pad­dock to grow food for my fel­low Aus­tralians.

Last year I had an al­lo­ca­tion of three per cent, how­ever, that was not al­lo­cated un­til quite late in the sea­son, and it was such a small amount that us­ing it there and then was not an op­tion.

Yes, I car­ried over that small amount in the hope that I could add it to more this year with the aim of con­tribut­ing to food pro­duc­tion, cre­at­ing jobs and eco­nomic stim­u­lus for my com­mu­nity in the process.

The three per cent last year fol­lowed zero per cent the pre­vi­ous year and 51 per cent the year be­fore that.

You can imag­ine how frus­trated my fel­low gen­uine food pro­duc­ers and I are at the al­lo­ca­tion an­nounce­ment by NSW Depart­ment of Wa­ter last week when they re­ported the aver­age car­ry­over was 21 per cent, giv­ing food pro­duc­ers ac­cess to 38 per cent of our wa­ter en­ti­tle­ments.

This re­port­ing gives an ex­tremely false rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion for gen­uine food pro­duc­ers.

There needs to be greater trans­parency in wa­ter own­er­ship that shows who is car­ry­ing over that wa­ter.

Any­one could be buy­ing wa­ter and park­ing it on NSW Mur­ray gen­eral se­cu­rity li­cences, but this car­ry­over vol­ume does not re­flect what the aver­age gen­uine fam­ily farmer has ac­cess to and has avail­able to use.

If ever trans­parency was needed it is now.

In these dif­fi­cult eco­nomic times it is im­pos­si­ble to un­der­stand why the NSW Gov­ern­ment and its wa­ter depart­ment will not help us grow food and stim­u­late the econ­omy.

But I sup­pose that’s what we have to live with when those in charge are pri­mar­ily city born and bred, with no gen­uine un­der­stand­ing of ef­fec­tive wa­ter man­age­ment.

— Ben Wil­son Tocumwal, NSW

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