Victoria: Irrigation dairy farmers put at risk by dirty dealStaff Writer | June 11, 2018
The United Dairyfarmers of Victoria throws its support behind the Victorian Farmers Federation Water Council in the fight to protect Victorian farmers in the Murray Darling Basin.
Australia Adam Jenkins, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria President
Last month, the Federal Government reached a deal with the Federal Opposition to secure the passage of the next stage of the Basin Plan through parliament.
“Passing the water projects through parliament is a positive step forward,” said Adam Jenkins, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria President, “but the deal done between the parties will tie the funding of those approved projects to an unrelated aspect of the Basin Plan; 450 gigalitres of efficiency projects, which do not currently exist even as proposals.”
A report released by RMCG this week showed that delivery of an additional 450 gigalitres (GL) beyond the current target would cause dairy production to decrease by 235 million litres of milk. This would result in losses of $100 million at the dairy farm gate and $200 million in dairy factory production. Water prices are projected to rise $30 per megalitre and a further 500 jobs would be lost in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District if the 450 GL were recovered.
“Will the Federal Government seek endorsement of this agreement or will they start following their own version of the Basin Plan where their deal and the Plan differ?” asked Mr. Jenkins.
The United Dairyfarmers of Victoria strongly objects to the deal done between the two political parties, without any public consultation, and at risk of being adopted at the Murray Darling Ministerial Council on Friday 8 June.
“Less water available to productive agriculture will mean less food in the long run. The Basin Plan has yet to be tested in a persistent drought. Any changes to the plan need to be properly thought through and farmers affected need to be properly consulted” said Mr. Jenkins. ■