The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has acknowledged the findings and recommendations of the ‘Independent Assessment of the 2018-19 fish deaths in the lower Darling’ (the Vertessy report) and the government’s $70 million response to address research, connectivity and compliance.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said the fish deaths that occurred in the Darling River near Menindee between December 2018 and January 2019 were a devastating sight and he welcomed the swift action taken by the Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud in response to the independent Vertessy report.
“Based on assessments from a panel of distinguished water scientists, the Vertessy report makes 27 recommendations centred around expanding research, providing better system connectivity and better compliance,” Mr Armitage said.
“We commend the Federal Government for accepted this independent advice, quickly acting to address the recommendations under its control, and committing to work with the states on others.”
“The Vertessy report also strongly supports the Basin Plan and the institutions involved in implementing it and we strongly encourage all sides of politics to observe this.”
“Born from compromise, the 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.”
“QFF continues to support recommendations that will improve the management of water, as long as they meet the Plan’s objectives and are supported by all Basin states and communities.”
“The macro reform settings of the Plan are sound, and people acknowledge that ongoing adjustment will be necessary. What we don’t need is politicians that are not cognisant or respectful of the importance of bi-partisanship to deliver this important reform, or the significant, positive efforts made by Basin communities to date.”
“For example, the previous report into the fish deaths by the Australian Academy of Science did not respect or acknowledge the findings of the 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. The Vertessy report does not make this mistake.”