VFF steps into Plan debate

VFF proposes a 10 point solution to Murray Basin Plan woes

Water
PLAN FIX: VFF president David Jochinke said the Murray Darling Basin Plan was hurting farmers across Basin Communities.

PLAN FIX: VFF president David Jochinke said the Murray Darling Basin Plan was hurting farmers across Basin Communities.

Aa

VFF proposes solutions to Murray Darling Basin plan problems.

Aa

The Victorian Farmers Federation has launched a 10 point plan to help restore what it says is the balance between irrigated agriculture and the environment in the Murray Darling Basin.

VFF president David Jochinke said the Murray Darling Basin Plan was hurting farmers across Basin communities.

"As our farming communities endure another year of drought, it is clear the Basin Plan is failing to respond to the needs of irrigated agriculture and the environment," Mr Jochinke said.

Read more: Littleproud commits to push investigation after "Can the Plan" rally

Mr Jochinke said it was time for all farmers to work together in fixing the Basin Plan, to restore the balance between water for farms, communities and the environment.

VFF Water Council chair Richard Anderson said the new 10 point plan provided solutions to major problems with the Basin Plan.

Included in the VFF's solution are calls to simplify the laws surrounding the Plan, stopping water recovery and buybacks from the southern Basin, and no more water recovery, after 2024.

The VFF has also called for governments to commit to building Lock Zero, scrapping the 450giglaitres upwater and no flooding of private property, without landowners' consent.

The VFF has also called for excessive floodplain harvesting to end, in the northern Basin, along with improved metering and compliance.

It also believed the Murray-Darling Basin Authority should be disbanded and restructured into separate entities, looking after river operations and compliance

Mr Anderson said current laws meant a complex and rigid legal instrument governed the Plan, that no politician was game to touch.

"Current laws mean the Basin Plan and government cannot respond to what we have learned since its inception," Mr Anderson said.

"The focus of fixing the Murray Darling Basin must be simplifying the legislation to give the whole community certainty."

He said farmers also needed certainty over when the Plan would end.

Currently, the legislation allowed for a review in 2024 and more water recovery could start all over again.

"This simply has to change," Mr Anderson said.

"We need a plan that will take into account the impact of water recovery on our farming communities as well as taking into account new science - like that of salinity in the Lower Lakes.

"We need a Basin Plan that promotes innovative projects to help restore the balance.":

New environmental projects that did not require more water should be implemented, especially if the 605gigaltires in environmental offsets could not be achieved.

Mr Jochinke said the forthcoming Ministerial Council meeting presented an opportunity for the Basin States and the Federal Government to show leadership.

"The message to government from the farming community has been made loud and clear," he said.

'It's time to show leadership and fix the Basin Plan by making it adaptable to our community's needs."

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by