Victoria must not deviate on Basin Plan, says UDV

Wednesday 30 November 2016

DAIRY farmers are the backbone of Northern Victoria and have given more than its fair share to the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

That’s the impassioned call from the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, which is urging the Federal Government to keep its word not to unfairly disadvantage Basin communities by turning over an additional 450 gigalitres for environmental usage.

“Our farmers recognise the importance of their businesses on the environment and their local communities,” UDV President Adam Jenkins said.

“The future of dairying is pivotal to social sustainability of this area, and water is an essential component of this.”

The Murray Darling Basin is home to more than 1700 dairy farms are, with 98 per cent family owned.

Mr Jenkins said 28 per cent of Australia’s milk (worth $1.3 billion at the farmgate) is produced by dairy farms in the Basin, with more than 12,000 regional Australians employed on farms and in local dairy factories.

“It’s our farmers who have provided much of Victoria’s 1075GL target under the plan,” he said.

Milk production in Northern Victoria is down 500 mega litres a year under the plan and farmers in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District are using 60 per cent more water than they own.

This follows the sale of 23 per cent (365GL) of farmers’ water rights under government buy-backs.

“Victoria has already achieved – or identified projects to achieve – more than 75 per cent of its 823GL target under the plan,” Mr Jenkins said.

“The Basin Plan legislation states that the 450GL upwater for South Australia is conditional on socio-economic neutrality, but as we’ve seen with the Northern Basin Review, irrigation communities have been severely impacted by the Plan so it’s not neutral.

“The socio-economic neutrality for the 450GL upwater is legislated to protect these farmers and communities in Northern Victoria. We must not deviate.”

Media Contacts:

Adam Jenkins, UDV President: 0437 008 806

Ashley Mackinnon, VFF Public Affairs Officer: 0417 165 784