Murray is full so why zero allocations?
MOAMA’S Richard Ham has been left wondering if the elected representatives for the NSW side of the Murray Valley at both state and federal levels are being taken seriously in the halls of Canberra.
The fourth generation farmer and Southern NSW Meat Research Council committee member, Mr Ham said water was the only solution to the drought crisis and long-term drought proofing.
‘‘If we can’t make it rain then we need access to the ample supply of water currently in storage dams to grow food, including fodder for stock,” Mr Ham said.
This week there was a National Drought Summit in Canberra and despite requests local representation from the Murray Valley was not allowed to attend.
Mr Ham said he was disappointed representatives from the directly affected grassroots farming community were not able to participate, especially as inept government policy was causing farmers to become part of the problem, yet with sensible and practical government policy they would be part of the solution.
‘‘I attended the recent crisis rally, where nearly 600 people crammed into the Deniliquin RSL Club, and I also attended a public meeting with the Deputy Premier John Barilaro earlier this month,’’ he said.
‘‘The deputy premier was given several suggestions to enable a water allocation to be announced for NSW irrigators from the Murray River. I cannot understand why the message is not getting through?
‘‘I don’t think our governments understand the pressure they are forcing upon our community as we watch the river flow full to the brim past our front door, while we are sitting on zero allocation.’’
Mr Ham said state and federal government water policy had put farms and regional communities at serious risk.
‘‘Without water we desperately wonder how we will sustain our farm businesses, let alone continue the progress that has been made towards a more productive and efficient agribusiness sector in future,’’ he said. ‘‘We are the closest region to the storages, we have versatile and passionate farmers, combined with a great climate, irrigation and freight infrastructure ready to go; all we need is water. I really hope the penny drops in Canberra and Sydney that we could be a part of the drought solution,” Mr Ham said.
POOR WATER POLICY: The Murray River at Barham photographed on Sunday, October 28.