• Rikki Lambert

NSW Farmers attack 'dog's breakfast' Murray Darling Basin Plan

The NSW Farmers' focus is on saving Deniliquin and Griffith from further farm water losses

In the strongest rhetoric since the National Farmers Federation took a stand against sending 450 more gigalitres down the Murray River, NSW Farmers president James Jackson called lower Murray concerns 'rubbish'.

Mr Jackson spoke with Flow after the NSW peak farming body lamented the slow progress on NSW dams compared with a federal Coalition promise to invest over $5 billion in Hell's Gate dam north-west of Townsville to open up 60,000 hectares of irrigated agriculture:

"I think there is no doubt that the Basin plan for reallocating water within the Murray Darling Basin - any objective analysis of that plan you would have to say it's a dog's breakfast."
"We do acknowledge that there was over-allocation...does that mean you can't do agriculture, you've got to buy it all back and turn it into environmental water? It doesn't really."

South Australian Liberal MP in the lower Murray Adrian Pederick - under pressure to hang on to his seat in Saturday's state election - declared his support for the 450 gigalitre 'up water' recovery target, over and above the Basin Plan's original 2,750 GL target for delivery to South Australia.

Mr Pederick spoke of his pride in defeating the proposal for a 'Lock Zero' weir at Wellington - a stance Mr Jackson attacked on Flow:

"This is where these ideological wars...the Wellington Group and all these ginger groups that are all jumping around, essentially saying 'unless it's all flowing out the end of the Murray River, its a complete disaster for the environment'...it's rubbish, it's demonstratively rubbish and it has been from day-dot."
"No, we don't have to gut these communities that have been predicated from water supply from those big reservoirs, we don't have to close down Deniliquin and Griffith for the environment to actually benefit by that, we don't have to do it."

Hear the full interview on the Flow podcast player below: