Statement attributable to Cotton Australia General Manager, Michael Murray:
The ‘Owing down the river’ report by the Australia Institute is another ill-informed attack on Australia’s world-leading cotton industry.
Kicking an industry that is significantly impacted by the drought for political advantage is not only shameful, but detrimental to our regional communities and economies.
This report, by a group of activists who have a track record of opposing our industry, has sought to undermine cotton’s historical success by drawing parallels with data that is presented without full context.
Australia’s cotton industry operates within the system and regulations we have in place – the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
This Plan will deliver an additional 3200Gl to the environment by 2024, with some 2000Gl already with the Commonwealth Environmental Water holder.
This is the plan that was agreed to after years of negotiations between state and federal governments and our industry is committed to the plan and seeing it implemented in full.
We also support the reforms that the New South Wales and Queensland governments are undertaking around floodplain harvesting and urge them to speed up the implementation process to allay any community concerns.
As noted in this report, this year’s Australian cotton crop has been reduced by half due to the drought. The crop being grown at the moment is using water carried over from floods in 2016, bore water or dry land (non-irrigated).
Cotton is one of the most profitable crops in Australia and the flow-on effects ensure more than 150 regional communities continue to survive, even through the tougher drought years.
Our industry will not be bullied by anti-cotton activists masquerading their views behind data that has been manipulated to suit their cause.