Make a change be­fore you leave to en­joy Christ­mas

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - NEWS -

Dear edi­tor, Be­fore long our politi­cians and their staff, along with the nu­mer­ous pub­lic ser­vants who are charged with pol­icy de­ci­sions and im­ple­men­ta­tion, will take their Christ­mas break.

Some may take a bit ex­tra time-off this year, with Christ­mas Day and New Year’s Day on a Tues­day, mak­ing it easy to take a cou­ple of flexi days and ex­tend the break.

They will also have their hol­i­day in com­fort, know­ing their job and se­cure in­come will be wait­ing for their re­turn.

Un­for­tu­nately, the de­ci­sions they make can have a vastly dif­fer­ent im­pact on their fel­low Aus­tralians.

Take those who work for SunRice, in the Rive­rina, for ex­am­ple. It has an­nounced 100 job losses as they re­struc­ture to cope with one of the low­est sum­mer crops in his­tory.

Mean­while, in other parts of South­ern NSW and North­ern Vic­to­ria, dairy farm­ers are culling herds and walk­ing off their farms.

This is all oc­cur­ring be­cause our de­ci­sion­mak­ers in­sist that no al­lo­ca­tion of water should be given to South­ern NSW food and fi­bre pro­duc­ers, while those in Vic­to­ria are faced with ex­or­bi­tant water prices

At the same time the Mur­ray and Mur- rumbidgee Rivers are run­ning high with the Mur­ray above ca­pac­ity, forc­ing des­per­ate farm­ers to watch nearby forests flood while their nearby pad­docks turn to dust.

In fact roughly 200,000 me­gal­itres, or 40 per cent of Sydney Har­bour, has un­in­ten­tion­ally spilled into the forests be­cause the river is not be­ing op­er­ated ef­fi­ciently.

Due to out­dated rules which haven’t been up­dated de­spite sig­nif­i­cant changes in re­cent years to water de­liv­ery, th­ese river losses come out of the food pro­duc­ing bucket. That’s food that could be grown to sup­port all Aus­tralians, re­gard­less of where you live.

This is dev­as­tat­ing for farm­ers who want grow the pro­duce needed by our na­tion and the rest of the world. As a con­se­quence we are now deal­ing with a whole range of as­so­ci­ated is­sues in­clud­ing in­creased men­tal health, se­vere fi­nan­cial stress and, in some cases, bank­ruptcy.

This is all be­ing caused be­cause the politi­cians and bu­reau­crats in charge of water pol­icy de­vel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion are re­fus­ing to lis­ten to those who live and breathe their lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment, nor will they ‘come to the ta­ble’ and work on ef­fec­tive so­lu­tions that en­sure there is plenty of water for the en­vi­ron­ment, food pro­duc­tion and South Aus­tralia.

Even in times of drought we can all sur­vive if we get the balance right; at present it’s not.

I call on the Water Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud, a coun­try guy from Chin­chilla who I am sure knows the dev­as­ta­tion caused by the loss of 100 jobs in a small town, to step up and pro­vide some pro­tec­tion to our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

It can as sim­ple as de­mand­ing his staff — be­fore they go on hol­i­days — work on rule changes to re­turn the wasted 200,000 me­gal­itres to farm pro­duc­tion.

We’re a long way from Chin­cilla, but we feel the pain of un­nec­es­sary lost jobs in the same way.

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