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Farm dams in Labor's firing line

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John Cobb, MP 

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security  Member for Calare 



Farm Dams in Labor’s Firing Line

Monday, October 11, 2010

The draft Murray Darling Plan announced on Friday makes it very clear that farm dams are in the firing line and both graziers and irrigators who use dams could be forced to either knock down the dams or give up water entitlement.

The Member for Calare, John Cobb said the water cutbacks were not just about river irrigators, but graziers, forestry and small lifestyle blocks were also threatened and maybe forced to knock down dams to ensure that the Macquarie/Castlereagh and Lachlan Valleys meet the new water caps.

“Away from the river in the Central West the biggest issue is the farm dams and the bores which produce the bulk of our horticultural products such as apples, vegetables, stone fruit and cherries, which the report makes very clear are now in at risk.

“The Minister for Agriculture needs to immediately clarify whether farmers will be losing any of their stock and domestic entitlements held in farm dams, without which many would be simply unable to survive.

“I am also worried that towns in the region which have bought water on the open market to supplement their water supplies could also lose up to a third of these additional water entitlements, placing further stress on town and city water supplies.

“The Chairman of the Murray Darling Basin Authority, Mike Taylor has stated that ‘... diversion limits include the full range of water taken for consumption including watercourse diversions , floodplain harvesting and so called interceptions - that is water taken by farm dams and by forestry’..

“Further the Report states;

“The Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDLs) will be applied to; Interception activities - including uses such as farm dams and forestry plantations.”

“Communities throughout our electorate which rely on both forestry and irrigation from farm dams could be extremely hard hit and lose up to 32 percent of their water under Labor’s plan,” Mr Cobb said.

“Also many smaller lifestyle holdings throughout Calare could be forced to knock down their dams in order to meet the Sustainable Diversion Limits.

Mr Cobb said it he believed that it was more likely that more rules and regulations will be placed on capturing water for stock and domestic farm dams.

“I am extremely worried about the future viability of businesses and communities right across the basin.

“We all know the value of water and to take away our water and force us to go from the worst drought in living memory straight into a Gillard made drought is totally unacceptable.

“The real question has to be asked, why is Labor hellbent on taking water without first fixing up the infrastructure to ensure we can do more with less?

Mr Cobb said he was urging everyone to attend MDBA consultation meetings, however, despite the fact that our electorate could be devastated by the proposed cuts the only meeting being held in Calare is at Forbes on the 4th of November.

Contact: Tom Chesson - 0418 415597