Campaspe Shire Council has endorsed a Position Paper calling for a holistic approach to water management with a desire for balanced outcomes and a sustainable Murray Darling Basin.
Mayor, Cr Adrian Weston said Council has remained consistent in aspiring to achieve across-the-board benefits for all stakeholders in the Basin, translating to social, economic and environmental gains.
“Throughout development of the Basin Plan and its implementation we have continued to lobby on behalf of our community,” Cr Weston said.
“Our economy relies on agricultural production, and water plays a significant role. We acknowledge that management of water resources in the Basin is extremely complex, involving four state governments, through which the Murray and Darling rivers and their tributaries flow.”
“In times of plenty, all water entitlements can be taken up and enough water remains to keep our rivers and streams flowing. However in times of low rainfall and drought, it’s generally accepted that our water resources have been over-used and under-regulated.”
The endorsed Position Paper calls on the Australian Government and the Murray Darling Basin Authority to:
- Increase Commonwealth investment to:
- preserve and enhance our region’s capacity to sustain food and fibre production, and
- enable new and enduring economic activity and economic diversification
to mitigate the long-term negative impacts of the Plan.
- Amend the legislative restrictions on the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to enable trade on the temporary water market and that the proceeds of trade be re-invested in infrastructure and improved water efficiency measures.
- Implement a mechanism which supports increased transparency in the water market through providing real-time information on water price and amount of water available.
- Review the operating model of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder such that it operates in a manner complementary to Australian agriculture (and hence the national economy).
- Guarantee that water buybacks from the consumptive pool will not be resumed.
- Abandon the recovery of any further efficiency measures above the 2750GL, given that any further recovery of water for the environment cannot be achieved without negative impacts on our regional economy and the social fabric of our communities.
- Seek greater reporting on the effectiveness of environmental watering programs and that this be supported by public information campaigns to inform all basin communities of the outcomes of utilising environmental waters.
- Implement a mechanism to ensure that all three states that abut the Murray downstream of the Barmah Choke act responsibly and in the allocation of water.
- Regulate the Murray and Darling delivery systems to guard against the indiscriminate issuing of water licenses.
- A guarantee that funding and support is available to the states to properly develop and implement Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism projects and a deadline that is more flexible to ensure that the target is achieved.
- Commonwealth and State Governments to support communities found to have been impacted as a consequence of the Plan.
The Position Paper will now be forwarded to the relevant Federal and State political representatives with electorates or interests in Campaspe Shire, or whose portfolios are relevant to the issue.