Farmers back Basin criticism


Irrigators have agreed with an assessment the Murray Darling Basin plan is a “shambles”, although one stopped short of calling for a reset.

Irrigators have agreed with Independent Shepparton MP Suzanna Sheed’s claim the Murray Darling Basin plan is a “shambles”, although one stopped short of calling for a reset.


Yea beef producer Jan Beer said the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) had put “the cart before the horse”, in their administration of the plan. “The first stages should have entailed whole of basin, catchment by catchment gauging and monitoring, so that there was a solid foundation knowledge, upon which detailed modelling and planning could then commence,” Ms Beer said. “Instead we constantly have assumptions and interpretations being made on flawed data which is then ‘plugged’ by yet more scientific documents and consequently defective, inaccurate modelling.”

It was impossible to understand whether the set Basin Plan objectives were being met, and social, economic and environmental outcomes were being optimised, due to a paucity of telemetry real time gauging and a fragmented monitoring, evaluation and reporting process.

Koyuga livestock and crop farmer Steven Snelson said he believe the plan was poorly conceived, from the outset. “It lacked common sense and any regard of rural communities,” Mr Snelson said. “The consequence is that the environmental position has not been achieved and they have destroyed huge amounts of communities, particularly along the Darling River.”

Mr Snelson said he supported a pause in the roll-out of the plan.

“It’s like driving a train with no brakes, would you prefer a pause, before you hit the brick wall?” Mr Snelson said. “We are heading for a train wreck, so a pause would be fantastic, so we can all get off.”

Murrabit dairy farmer Andrew Leahy said irrigators were being left behind, with the socio-economic impact of the plan hitting hard. But he said he was cautious of any reset. “Given the Connections reset, you have to be careful what you wish for,” Mr Leahy said.

Boort’s Lawrie Maxted said Ms Sheed was “on the money”. “I think it needs revising, if that 450 megalitres (ML) of upwater goes, I fear for Goulburn Murray Water’s (GMW) business - it will just be in a free fall.”


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