Basin water woes could spell disaster for the bush

Media Releases » Basin water woes could spell disaster for the bush

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) says the Albanese Government doesn’t care about the impact its changes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan will have on farming communities and food production in Victoria.  

VFF President Emma Germano said the Albanese Government’s push to buyback water from farmers as part of its revamped Murray Darling Basin Plan would lead to a repeat of the economic heartbreak experienced in the Millennium Drought.  

“The Albanese Government’s election commitment that was focused on delivering water to save the Darling River will not achieve its objective.” 

“Instead, it will target water recovery from Victorian farmers and the environment, which will lead to a repeat of the Millennium Drought in terms of lost food production and jobs.”

“Victoria will wear all the social and economic pain for no environmental gain.” 

Ms Germano said countless reports had demonstrated the impact water buybacks would have on farming communities across the Basin, particularly Victoria.  

“A Victorian Government report estimated there could be a $900 million decrease in the value of farm production in the Southern Murray Darling Basin that would be lost under water buybacks.”  

“This would lead to a repeat of the impacts felt during the Millennium Drought, but Tanya Plibersek dismissed this report out of hand.”  

“In response to the latest economic analysis, which placed an overly conservative estimate on the impact of water buybacks, the Albanese government has only allocated a pitiful $300 million to assist communities.” 

“There are no guarantees over how these funds will be used and whether they will support farmers and the resulting loss of jobs in the agricultural sector.”

“We know that Victoria will be disproportionately impacted by the Albanese Government’s water buybacks. The security of our water entitlements means the Commonwealth will again target our farmers.”  

Ms Germano said the government was failing to listen to impacted communities and work meaningfully towards solutions.  

“Tanya Plibersek refuses to visit the most impacted region and sit down with farmers to find solutions. The Albanese Government is not interested in listening to and working with our communities.”  

“Last week’s one hour online meeting between Tanya Plibersek and the state water ministers is just further evidence of the Commonwealth’s attitude to engagement.”  

“Ordinarily, these meetings would be an attempt to work together to find solutions. The cooperative arrangements that underpin the Murray Darling Basin are now being treated with contempt.”