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Farmers look to governments for water certainty.



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Farmers Look to Governments for Water Certainty 25 August 2003 NR 55/03

The Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) meeting this week is the most important policy forum for farmers since Federation, according to National Farmers’ Federation President, Mr Peter Corish.

“This Friday in Canberra, Federal and State Governments have the opportunity to agree to a process that will deliver Australian farmers, the environment and rural communities vital water security for generations to come,” Mr Corish said.

In the past week there have been positive signals from Governments suggesting that there is considerable good will and common ground that should lead to agreement on key principles to underpin the development of an Intergovernmental Agreement for the future management of water in Australia.

“The NFF believes that the cornerstone of this agreement must be a recognition that farmers across Australia need water security for investment security so that they can continue to be actively involved in sustainable agriculture,” Mr Corish said.

The NFF believes that an Intergovernmental Agreement should include agreement to: - determine healthy river systems based on science; - implement decision making that gives equal weight to social and economic impacts; - provide adequate information and public consultation on issues prior to decisions being made' - provide fair and equitable structural adjustment for farmers and affected communities; - issue water licenses to all water users in perpetuity; - introduce a national framework for water trading that will include the removal of all impediments to trading water entitlements and allocations; - develop a long-term agreement between governments on the cost sharing to fund the purchase of water for environmental reasons and structural adjustment; and - where necessary purchase additional water for environmental reasons at market rates once a water trading system is in place.

“The NFF cannot overstate how important it is to Australian farmers that the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers leave Canberra on Friday with an agreed framework to deliver a National Water Reform process that ensures long-term resource security and in turn environmental sustainability for Australia,” Mr Corish said.

For further information:

Mairi Barton General Manager Public Relations, NFF (02) 6273 3855 0408 448 250 Email: mbarton@nff.org.au

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