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Rice industry in Australia wants explanations from government

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Staff writer ▼ | March 9, 2016
Rice Australia
Irrigation   To re-build confidence in the region

On March 2, The Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) has called for the Commonwealth Government to provide certainty about the Basin Plan.

RGA President Jeremy Morton said that it is time for the government to provide a clear statement of intent about the water recovery affecting irrigation communities.

“There is a strong sense in our communities that the government is going to continue to buy irrigators’ water entitlements, further reducing economic activity in the region.”

“With the remaining water recovery likely to come from state environmental projects and other efficiency measures, further buybacks shouldn’t be necessary. It’s now time for the government to make this absolutely clear to irrigators so we can re-build confidence in the region once favourable conditions return.”

“Having the threat of further buybacks lingering is unnecessary and should be ruled out completely. They’re done, so let’s put the issue to bed.”

Morton also said that the government needed to look at more innovative ways of achieving a balance between agriculture and environmental needs.

“The reform approach to date has been based on an assumption that agricultural production areas can’t provide environmental benefit. We think there are more creative ways of achieving environmental outcomes that don’t treat agricultural water use as causing an environmental deficit. It’s about striking a balance.”

“Rice production and the ephemeral watercourses on our farms provide a rich habitat for a huge variety of species, some of which are highly endangered. Those species don’t make a distinction between what’s natural and agricultural.

“Achieving the best environmental outcomes is a complex issue, and we’re trying to build support for a fresh look at getting the best results across the whole basin landscape. I urge the government to join this discussion with us”.


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