Joyce to meet with irrigators and farmers across the Murray-Darling Basin
4 November 2015
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, will be meeting with irrigators and other stakeholders across the Basin this week, in Renmark, Warracknabeal, Mildura, Broken Hill and St George.
Minister Joyce said he would be taking the opportunity to hear first-hand from both irrigators and dryland farmers about the issues that mattered to them.
"Having lived in the Basin all my working life from Danglemah to Moree to Charleville to St George and now Tamworth—I hope I can bring some practical experience to bear in doing the best job possible in what is a very complex policy area," Minister Joyce said.
"Water is a precious resource for our communities, economies, and our unique environment, as well as being a critical input for agriculture.
"The Murray–Darling Basin is Australia's largest water resource, and we must manage it sustainably and with long-term vision to safeguard it for future generations.
"Our vision for the future of the Basin is of vibrant agricultural production, healthy rivers and ecosystems, and strong communities—outcomes that are inextricably linked.
"A key part of achieving this vision is our commitment to delivering the Basin Plan in a way that maximises social and economic benefits while also delivering the necessary environmental outcomes.
"This is why we are undertaking the most significant water infrastructure programme in Australian history, investing an average of around $2.5 million dollars every day in infrastructure upgrades to support the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental outcomes.
"This includes projects to deliver more efficient infrastructure both on-farm and off-farm across the Basin—work which is not only delivering environmental water savings but increasing productivity and flexibility for many farm businesses at the same time.
"We have legislated a cap on water purchases of 1500 gigalitres to help protect the social and economic wellbeing of the many Basin communities that are dependent on farming.
"The government has also commissioned an independent review of the Water Act, to improve both its effectiveness in achieving its objects and its efficiency by streamlining regulation. The government response to the review of the Act will be released soon."
Minister Joyce will be meeting with stakeholders across the Murray–Darling Basin from 4 to 6 November.