The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has acknowledged the findings and recommendations of the Australian Academy of Science report, commissioned by the Federal Opposition, into the recent fish deaths in the Lower Darling river system at Menindee.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said the fish deaths were a devastating sight and welcomed some of the report’s recommendations but took issue with the blinkered approach of this latest review.
“The Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and the Northern Basin Review in particular, provide much needed certainty for Queensland farmers and represent a workable way to achieve environmental outcomes while minimising the economic and social impacts on many Basin communities,” Mr Armitage said.
“Queensland irrigators have empowered the state government to better manage water and significant steps have and continue to be taken. Queensland is the only Basin state with an accredited water resource plan and last year completed an independent audit into the measurement and compliance of the state’s water resources.”
“QFF welcomes any recommendation that will improve the management of water, as long as it meets the Basin Plan’s objectives and has support from all Basin states and communities.”
“But it is important to remember that this review is the latest in what is fast becoming a long line of recent reviews into the Basin Plan, and it fails to respect the significant science and evidence-based reviews gone before it.”
“For example, the findings of the four-year independent Northern Basin Review, which included a range of new research projects to better understand the unique communities, agricultural production systems and environment of the northern basin, appear to have been dismissed.”
“Reports in isolation create an uncoordinated approach to addressing 100 years of over-allocation of the water in the Basin and often do more to divide those living in the Basin than anything else.”
“Born from compromise, the Basin Plan is the best chance to ensure we better manage a scarce resource, hold water for the environment while ensuring a sustainable level of consumptive take, and fairly address damaging socio-economic impacts.”