QFF and its members promote the use of water in an efficient and sustainable manner that will benefit the economy while respecting the needs of the environment. Farmers play an important role in their property management to achieve sustainable outcomes at the broader landscape level, including water.
QFF regularly convenes meetings of its Water Policy Committee which gathers irrigators and water policy experts to address key water policy issues. Major issues confronting this committee include the Murray Darling Basin Plan and its impact upon irrigation entitlements; water prices; and the transition to local management arrangements for SunWater channel irrigation schemes. QFF also plays an important role in broader water policy planning and issues.
Irrigators should not be solely responsible for bearing the costs of water allocation and management planning and the development and implementation of water reforms, given that these processes will benefit the community as a whole at the national, state, regional and local level.
Governments must employ principles of transparency and stakeholder consultation in the development of water policy and pricing mechanisms. Irrigators should be given adequate time and resources to be able to identify and respond to the implications of new policies and pricing mechanisms.
Governments must consider the capacity of industry to cope with changes in water pricing and policy, particularly in those industries which will face difficulties in implementing the reforms and in recovering increased production costs in their markets.
Water pricing and policy reforms need to be considered in the context of broader economic, social and environmental planning mechanisms. A coordinated and consultative approach is essential to effective planning, policy development and regulation.