Griffith City Council Slams Murray-Darling Water Amendment Bill

Written by: The Griffith Phoenix


The Federal Government’s Water Bill 2023 threatens the future of Griffith and other irrigation communities - Griffith City Council pushes back.

Griffith City Council has slammed the Federal Government's Water Bill 2023 which proposes amendments to the 2012 Murray Darling Basin Plan that would potentially decimate our food-producing community.

Mayor Doug Curran said the changes threatened the future of Griffith and other irrigation communities.

“Buybacks will decimate one of the most prosperous growing areas in Australia,” Mayor Curran said.

“Our government forefathers knew the potential of this area, it’s a pity our current government seems determined to destroy that legacy.

“Once we lose food security, we will be reliant on imports and we will have no control over our own destiny.”

The Australian Government’s bill involves buying more water licences back from farmers to meet the environmental targets of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

The Senate will vote on the Bill on Wednesday, November 15 and, if supported will become law.

Murray Darling Association Region 9 Chair, Councillor Glen Andreazza said the reintroduction of water buybacks and the removal of socio-economic neutrality testing, was of particular concern.

“The Federal Government is completely ignoring the impacts to communities,” Cr Andreazza said.

“They appear hell bent on achieving water recovery targets without any “further delay” and they will pay whatever is required to have farmers agree to sell their water to them to achieve this politically opportunistic agenda.

“I’m guessing a premium of up to 50 per cent above the true market value.

“This is an enormous waste of public funds.

“Public funds should be utilised to continue with improving efficiencies and better managing water in the distribution network.”

Council’s General Manager, Brett Stonestreet said State and Federal Government bureaucracy red tape and ineptitude have meant that projects proposing improved water efficiencies have stalled.

“These centralised bureaucracies are totally disconnected with those who live and work in the Murray Darling Basin,” Mr Stonestreet said.

“The delivery of the projects should be shifted to regionally based entities who already have a track record of getting work done on time and budget.

“The Bill proposes an additional 18 months to have projects implemented.

“This is not enough time.

“Community and business confidence in the BAsin will be decimated by this Government agenda and our Nation as a whole will suffer the consequences for generations to come.”

Mr Stonestreet said that community confidence was rocked by the basin reform process 12 years ago.

The Office of Local Government reduced growth projections for Griffith by 20 percent, drying up public sector investment and impacting private sector investment.

“This connot by allowed to happen again,” Mr Stonestreet said.

“This Bill is about securing political seats in Parliament leading into the next election not the greater good of the Basin as a whole.

“It will impact every Australian in the long run with our food and fibre coming to your local shop via a shipping container from overseas.”

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