MDBA is dis­con­nected

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - NEWS -

Dear Ed­i­tor, What an in­cen­tive ar­ti­cle (‘A Year of Achieve­ment’, COUN­TRY NEWS, Jan­uary 1, 2019).

The MDBA should be ashamed of its dis­con­nec­tion to the ru­ral pro­duc­tive en­vi­ron­ment.

The cur­rent basin plan is toxic, ir­re­spon­si­ble, and po­lit­i­cally driven, which is cur­rently de­stroy­ing ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and our young fu­ture agri­cul­tural pro­duc­ers.

The ex­ist­ing po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment is em­bar­rass­ing in more ways than one, emp­ty­ing our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties that were once thriv­ing and very pro­duc­tive.

It ap­pears to me that wa­ter em­ploys an enor­mous num­ber of peo­ple in city in­dus­tries and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, govern­ment de­part­ments, non-pro­duc­tive and pro­duc­tive in­dus­tries.

As our pop­u­la­tion grows so do the pres­sures of our liv­ing stan­dard and the need and de­mand upon all our re­sources, es­pe­cially wa­ter and en­ergy sup­plies.

Why is there no dis­cus­sion on cre­at­ing more wa­ter and redi­rect­ing it into in­land rivers, es­pe­cially the Dar­ling River — which has no ap­par­ent wa­ter catch­ment area — in­stead of re­mov­ing wa­ter from ex­ist­ing pro­duc­tive ar­eas that were de­signed to drought proof Aus­tralia and cre­ate sus­tain­able food bowls?

The Mur­ray River is a con­trolled drain, so why not do the same to the Dar­ling River.

The MDBA should in­vest more in the ex­ist­ing food bowls in ru­ral Aus­tralia, mak­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity more and more ef­fi­cient in­stead of re­mov­ing wa­ter out of pro­duc­tion and send­ing it out to sea.

In­vest in re­search so food pro­duc­ers can pro­duce food and fi­bre more and more sus­tain­ably and ef­fi­ciently with less wa­ter.

The rice in­dus­try is a good ex­am­ple through its re­search depart­ment, de­sign­ing a sus­tain­able rice va­ri­ety that needs min­i­mal wa­ter but yields well.

Food and fi­bre pro­duc­ers em­brace all en­vi­ron­men­tal and sci­en­tific rec­om­men­da­tions that make their busi­ness more ef­fi­cient and prof­itable, oth­er­wise they are “out the door”. The MDBA could re­gain re­spect by:

Lis­ten­ing to the Speak Up Cam­paign that is pas­sion­ate about our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

De­vel­op­ing an of­fice in an empty shop in ru­ral town­ships like po­lit­i­cal par­ties. This would sug­gest MDBA cares and con­cerned lo­cal ci­ti­zens can ex­press their views and cre­ate pos­i­tive dis­cus­sion in a neu­tral en­vi­ron­ment.

Per­son­ally, I be­lieve the Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin Plan should be re­named the Mur­ray AND Dar­ling Basin Plan be­cause the is­sues as­so­ci­ated with the North­ern Basin and South­ern Basin are very com­plex and di­verse. Pro­duc­tiv­ity, en­vi­ron­ments, and ex­ist­ing ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties are all var­ied and one plan will not suit all.

Flex­i­bil­ity and trans­parency is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary, as is un­der­stand­ing wa­ter own­er­ship. Who owns the wa­ter? Is it the tax payer, over­seas in­vestors, su­per funds, pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als, ag­gres­sive city based com­pa­nies? Should food and fi­bre pro­duc­ers have a set pur­chase rate in­stead of com­pet­ing with these non-pro­duc­tive or­gan­i­sa­tions/in­di­vid­u­als? The cost of temp wa­ter is over­priced from $40/meg now $440/meg. How can the ef­fi­cient worldly re­spected Aus­tralian pro­ducer ex­ist? NSW still has zero wa­ter al­lo­ca­tion but pays enor­mous fixed wa­ter charges for wa­ter they do not re­ceive . . . ridicu­lous. Imag­ine buy­ing a car then hav­ing to pay ex­tra for its mo­tor!

The MDBA should halt the plan and re­ally look at its cur­rent im­pact on the ex­ist­ing com­mu­ni­ties and ru­ral in­dus­tries es­pe­cially in the Rive­rina. See­ing a fast flow­ing high river to­day is sui­ci­dal and is dam­ag­ing lo­cal for­est en­vi­ron­ments. If the MDBA be­comes en­gaged in our com­mu­ni­ties, re­spect lo­cal ed­u­cated knowl­edge, we would not have this an­guish, frus­tra­tion and dis­trust that is caus­ing much heartache and con­fu­sion for our fu­ture ex­is­tence.

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