The National Farmers’ Federation, alongside its members, are at the end of their seven-day Murray Darling Basin Plan tour where they met with local farmers and community leaders.
Led by President Fiona Simson, from Goondiwindi, Queensland to Goolwa, South Australia, the NFF met with those whose livelihoods and communities depend on the Basin and the effective implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
The NFF was joined on the consultative tour by its state-based member organisations including AgForce, NSW Farmers, Victorian Farmers Federation and Primary Producers South Australia as well as a number of commodity members.
Ms Simson said the tour had been extremely informative.
“The best insights into the challenges faced by Basin farmers and communities, are gleaned from farmers in their own communities. And that’s what we have been doing this week,” Ms Simson said.
“There is no doubt farmers up and down the Basin are hurting and the issues vary from community to community.
“The drought is one strong constant.
“The NFF and our members are committed to seeing the Plan be the best it can be.”
Last week Bundaberg MP Keith Pitt took over the federal water ministry, from now Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud.
Minister Pitt said he was looking forward to the new challenge.
“I have closely followed the issues surrounding the Murray Darling Basin and the plan our Government has developed to deal with those issues,” Mr Pitt said.
“I support the implementation of the Basin Plan and the security and sustainability it provides to producers, communities and the environment.”
Ms Simson said the NFF and its members were committed to seeing the Plan be the best it could be.
“We are the first to say considerable imperfections exist,” Ms Simson said.
“The Plan was always envisaged to be a dynamic document that would be improved with the benefit of lived experience.
“Review mechanisms are built in to the Plan to facilitate this process and last year the Productivity Commission’s 5-year review was completed.
“As a matter of priority Basin Governments and the MBDA must act to immediately to implement the Review’s recommendations.
“Adequate resourcing must be made available to the MDBA and Basin Governments to implement the Plan, particularly Supply Measures where genuine consultation is lacking. Public confidence in the Plan is critical.
“NFF continues to ‘pulse-check’ the sentiment of our members towards the Plan. This week’s consultations were a part of this.”