The Victorian Liberal Nationals have backed calls for water to be prioritised for food to help secure the nation’s food supplies.
As irrigators across northern Victoria continue to face ongoing low water allocations, governments must prioritise food over forests.
On 31 January 2020 the environment held 1,173 GL of water in Basin Storages, with 496 GL carried over from last season.
Meanwhile, water allocations across the southern connected basin remain low, with the cost of temporary water trading outside the reach of many farmers.
The Victorian Liberal Nationals will support the necessary legislative changes to reallocate water from the environment to the consumptive pool in years of low allocation.
With catchment in-flows significantly declining in recent years, the need for a more flexible Murray Darling Basin Plan is more important than ever.
In 2007 John Howard released his National Plan for Water Security that stated: “The counter-cyclical nature of environmental watering will also allow some water to be made available to irrigators during dry periods”.
It’s time to amend the Plan to allow John Howard’s intention to be realised.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan
Now, more than ever, our farmers need the resources at their disposal to do what they do best and that includes having enough water to grow fresh, clean food for the nation.
Governments must explore putting environmental water back into the consumptive pool during times of low allocation to guarantee food supplies.
The Plan, along with the realities of climate change, is crippling industry in northern Victoria. Nothing short of bold reform can reverse this trend.