Russell Broadbent here, your federal member for Monash. This is a just as I see it broadcast.
I have been involved in issues surrounding the Murray Darling Basin for a long time.
These issues are often very complicated, and special committees have been formed over the years to consider the interests of farmers and the wider Australian community.
An article titled ‘A Shameless Grab’ in The Weekly Times last Wednesday said that the federal government are soon to release water buyouts across the southern area of the Murray Darling Basin.
This follows the government’s refusal to extend the deadline imposed on NSW and Victoria to reach the 605 gigalitre environmental efficiency gains target by the end of June next year.
But given the recent history of floods and the pandemic, coupled with a delay in federal funding – why not extend the deadline to allow delayed projects to be completed?
Water buybacks by the federal government would take water directly from our irrigators, which risks cutting jobs and food production.
And if this happens, Australians will be hit with higher food prices.
As I said earlier, this is a complicated issue.
But at the end of the day, the people of the basin come first.
All I ask is that the impact on regional farmers, businesses, and communities is at the front of the government’s mind when addressing this issue.
That’s just as I see it.