Mur­ray is full so why zero al­lo­ca­tions?

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS -

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.

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