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  • Rikki Lambert

Make the 'no buybacks' promise law: VFF

Victorian Farmers Federation's new Water Council chair has called for the Commonwealth's promise of no more buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin to be made law.

Earlier this year, the federal government announced it would not use buybacks of water allocations from farmers to achieve further water-saving targets in the Basin, nor would it use on-farm water efficiency projects. This leaves off-farm efficiency projects (such as converting seeping, evaporating open channels to pipelines) and other confirmed projects, such as eliminating evaporation losses or enabling temporary flooding of farms to move water down constrained watercourses.

The VFF's Wednesday call for a stronger no-buyback position comes the day before state and federal water ministers meet to review the progress of the Basin Plan.

You can listen to the interview with Andrew Leahy on the FlowNews24 podcast player below. The article continues further below.

Murrabit farmer Andrew Leahy told FlowNews24:

" We would like to see legislation put in place to stop any more buybacks of water coming out of the water irrigation district here. We've had a lot of water taken out or sold out already - the environment bought some - other people sold downstream - (it's a) major problem in future if any more leaves."

Mr Leahy acknowledged there were challenges with legislating changes, given it would have to pass both houses of the federal parliament:

"We've heard from both sides of politics or even independents and the Greens - 'we don't want to make this a political plan' but the reality is: it is.
"If they were true to their word, they would see the socio-economics of the whole thing, with whats happened in the southern Basin especially. We've lost income from the water leaving - if there was a true nonpolitical thing then that would be able to be acehived."

The VFF Water Council chair hoped that if Victoria could not achieve water savings through existing projects, they could pursue others - such as efficiency projects - to reach the targets on time:

"There's some projects there that probably wont get the results they need and there are projects there that might be put in place to replace these - the flexibility hasn't been ultimately achieved, with locking these projects in the 2024 plan."


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