Cool response to Snowy plan

Cautious reaction to Snowy plans


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Irrigators have reacted cautiously to the proposed $2billion expansion of the Snowy Mountains hydro scheme.

Irrigators have reacted cautiously to the proposed $2 billion expansion of the Snowy Mountains hydro scheme.

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Victorian Farmers Federation’s (VFF) Water council chairman, Richard Anderson, said any scheme must comply with the operating rules, governing irrigation water.

“The proposal they have brought out and dusted off has been around for years, and it hasn’t stacked up before,” Mr Anderson said.

“They’ve brought it out again, dusted it off and are seeing if this is going to get a run, which is fine

“But you need to work out the operational rules, so there are no third party impacts on irrigators or the environment.”

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull has announced plans to boost the Snowy Hydro’s electricity generation capacity by 50 per cent, for supply to the national market.

Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia president, Jeremy Morton said it was too early to understand exactly what the implications might be.

“But we would not want to see any changes in reliability, or supply, from any expansion of the scheme,” Mr Morton said. “That would be non-negotiable.”

We would not want to see any changes in reliability, or supply, from any expansion of the scheme. - Jeremy Morton, Ricegrowers' Association of Australia

He said irrigators would be “absolutely having our two bob’s worth, in any discussion.”

National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) vice-president and water taskforce chair Les Gordon said he had seen no real detail of the plan.

Mr Gordon said greater electricity generation was “good news” and a “no brainer,” given the significant impacts of higher power prices for farm production; especially in the irrigation sector.

“Is there an energy crisis?” he said. “At the moment we’re on the cusp of one that’s pretty clear.

“The price of energy is part of the crisis and that’s making it incredibly difficult for many businesses and if reliability starts to fall away, as it’s showing some signs that it might do, then absolutely we’re in crisis and if we’re not in a crisis now, we’re certainly heading for one.

“If you really want to muck up investment in businesses and agriculture, making the power supply really expensive and unreliable is a sure-fire way of doing it.”

SNOWY PLAN: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad during his tour of the Snowy Hydro Tumut 3 power station in Talbingo, NSW. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

SNOWY PLAN: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad during his tour of the Snowy Hydro Tumut 3 power station in Talbingo, NSW. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

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