Residents of the Macquarie Valley are being urged to contribute to the Northern Basin Review so as to help inform decision makers of how environmental outcomes can be more fairly and sustainably balanced with the prosperity of Basin communities.
Macquarie River Food and Fibre (MRFF) Chairman, Michael Egan, said the Murray-Darling Basin Plan had impacted on local jobs and the economy within Basin communities and change was needed to restore common sense.
“The Review – which has been extended to 24 February – is not just about harnessing the views of irrigators, but everyone from local business owners, service providers, employees and local families,” Mr Egan said.
“Our message is clear: return over-recovered water back to the Macquarie Valley and stop the water buy backs, so as to provide greater certainty and confidence to local businesses.”
Prior to water recovery under the Basin Plan, 73 per cent of flows in the Macquarie River were preserved for the environment, that number now exceeds 80 per cent.
“The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) own analysis shows this has caused job losses of up to 12 per cent in some towns across the Macquarie, and that’s on top of other challenges including drought and technology replacing farm labour,” Mr Egan said.
“Under the Review, the MDBA has recognised these impacts do exist at the hands of buybacks and has recommended the Macquarie’s recovery target be reduced to 71GL.
“But this does not go far enough, given our original target was 20GL.”
Mr Egan said there are a number of win-win alternative solutions that could be implemented to benefit both the environment and the community.
“These include regularly trading environmental water back into production and investing in complementary measures, such as feral animal control and mitigating cold water pollution, to maximise the environmental outcomes from water already recovered,” he said.
Mr Egan urged all affected community members to have their say.
“We welcome the Review and encourage people to let policy makers know that these impacts are real and there are other solutions which are good for the environment and good for people,” he said.
To have your say, or to find out more, visit the MRFF website http://www.mrff.com.au/the-macquarie-matters. It’s quick and easy to complete, and will ensure the Macquarie’s voice is heard where it matters most.