IN THE lead up to the state election, The Irrigator is catching up with Murray's candidates each week and giving them the chance to air their thoughts on the issues.
This week the focus was water.
How will you approach the Murray-Darling Basin Plan's issues and fight for Murray communities when it comes to water security for irrigators?
Austin Evans - Nationals
I'VE spent most of my professional career as a water engineer with Coleambally Irrigation and I understand the complexity and importance of water for our irrigators.
Water is the lifeblood of this region and the negative campaign against our irrigators - who put food in the stomach and fibre on the back of countless Australians - needs to stop.
But this isn’t just about irrigators. It’s about the communities in this electorate who will be left behind. They’re the people who will suffer.
My focus now is to ensure that not one more drop of water will be taken our communities and sent to South Australia.
I will continue to fight for increased water storages, and I welcome the NSW Nationals commitment to raising the Wyangala Dam - the first major irrigation infrastructure built by any Government (State or Federal) in more than 30 years.
But I won’t stop with Wyangala, I will fight to raise the Burrinjuck Dam wall as well.
At the NSW Nationals campaign launch it was announced we would invest $25 million to seriously investigate the Bradfield Scheme, and other irrigation infrastructure, to bring more water into the Murray-Darling Basin, and this is something I support wholeheartedly.
Helen Dalton - Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
WE URGENTLY need to end the National Party’s control of water policy, because they are killing irrigation in our region.
On the one hand, they’ve allowed their donors in the Northern Basin to take as much water as they want, without metering.
On the other hand, they keep flushing Southern Basin water to overflowing lakes in South Australia, to win marginal seats there.
If I win, I’ll share the balance of power in parliament.
Every key vote will need my support to pass.
I’ll have the power to call for a five-year pause in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
It’s unfair to continue pursuing water recovery targets while much of the Northern Basin is not metered; modelling is flawed; environmental water is not accounted for and government mismanagement/corruption is rife.
I’ll also demand a federal royal commission to expose corruption and mismanagement of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
Once we properly measure all water use, base modelling on the best possible science and shift decision-making to local communities.
We can resume with a new plan that aims to both restore river health and enhance the vital role irrigation play in our economy.
Brian Mills - Independent
MIA water must be a separate market based on delivery cost.
What it cost in 1915 should be the same as now except for the decrease in the value of money.
After water markets have been established, opportunistic water traders should be abolished
My policy is based on the drying of the Darling River being caused by drought and the huge increase in the number of water licenses.
"No pump" should be allowed to operate until down stream water levels are acceptable.’
Huge increases in water costs have been a factor in various entities encouraging "the big end of town" squeezing out remaining family farms.
Many farmers are concerned about the monopoly organisation Murrumbidgee Irrigation.
They would like an immediate halt on new expansion canals.
They also want to expose and then halt the pressure being applied to small farmers at the expense of ‘the big boys.’
When "ban the plan" was betrayed and MDBA finalised there has been chaos. MDBA management should be fired and MDBA disbanded.
Carl Kendall - Sustainable Australia
IT IS a big, complex issue.
My personal belief is that our inland water is a very finite resource, which cannot sustainably support too many people nor excessive agricultural over-development in these areas.
We need to better manage our water security, including through lower wastage and fairer water rights and responsibilities in regional Australia.
Tom Weyrich - One Nation
QUITE obviously, this is a major issue, and I consider it unbelievable that we could be in this position.
One of the problems with the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is that there is no pressure relief valve in the plan to allow for the situation we are in; ie zero allocation and the ongoing drought.
The plan is causing so much hurt, and so much financial hardship, it's not worth saving.
And I don't believe pausing the plan will solve the issue either; it's too little, too late, and we're too far into it.
I suggest we go to the Victorians with a view to both states (VIC and NSW) walking away from the plan.
It wasn't that long ago that both Victoria and New South Wales were going to do just that. (walk away).
The Coalition has been in government for years at both state and federal levels, and look at the mess we are in.
I have been in local government for 20 years and have good knowledge of how local government works, and I have a number of contacts in the government.
David Landini - Independent
The people in the electorate of Murray have been in an ongoing water disaster since the passage of the Water Act in 2007. This disaster is destroying irrigation and associated industries and ensuring the continual loss of employment and removal of people from this area in search of work.
This disaster has been fully formed and maintained by National, Liberal, Labor and Green politicians. They have all voted for the Water Act and repeatedly declared that the ruinous Basin Plan will be delivered in full and on time. A vote for the National, Liberal, Labor or Greens parties is a vote to continue devastating the livelihoods of the people in the electorate of Murray.
The flow of water in productive use out of the Murray-Darling Basin must be stopped. Instead, the quantity of water in productive use must be vastly increased.
However, N.S.W. is so dominated by the population and number of politicians in Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong that even if the National party is replaced in Murray, this by itself will not improve anything. Politics is numbers, and the numbers are by far and away in Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong, and not here.
The only hope for a prosperous future for the people of Murray is to form The Riverina into a state separate from N.S.W. A Riverina state will interact with the Commonwealth and other state governments as a state in its own right. This will infinitely increase the capabilities of the people in Murray and the wider Riverina. This state will serve the interests of its own citizens and not the misconceptions of green orientated metropolitan voters.
I will initiate a referendum of the people of Murray and the wider Riverina on whether to form a state separate from N.S.W. The N.S.W parliament will eventually defer to the will of the people expressed in a successful vote and consent to this separation. The consent of the NSW parliament is the only Constitutional requirement of achieving
A Riverina state is the only guarantee of the survival and prosperity of the people in The Riverina.
Alan Purtill - Country Labor
LABOR leader, Michael Daly has pledged one Billion dollars to clean-up and provide much-needed infrastructure to all inland rivers in NSW.
Water is the life blood of our country. Western NSW is not only the food bowl of NSW but also the food bowl of our nation. Irrigators cannot service if we don’t provide enough quantity of water. Towns cannot survive if we don’t provide quality of water. How do we improve quantity and quality of water, by improving out-dated infrastructure to our weirs and channels by improving our water treatment plants.
I’m not an irrigator or a farmer, but I know how important they are to our economy and I also know how important clean water is to our communities. The Murray-Darling Basin plan has not delivered like it should have. A tweaking of the plan is probable an understatement, but doing nothing is worse. I will work tirelessly to improve our rivers, no more dry river beds, no more fish kills.
Dr Nivanka De Silva - Greens
OUR communities and farmers rely on the long term health of our land and water, but we are bearing the brunt of extended heat waves and longer droughts that will only get worse with climate change.
The Greens have a detailed plan that we are committing to at both state and federal level which includes a national Royal Commission to shine a light on corruption and poor decision making by policy makers. Corporate donations to politicians from wealthy individuals and corporations who can personally benefit from these decisions need to be banned.
We strongly oppose the Lib-Nat government’s pipeline to Broken Hill that will only put more pressure on Murray communities.
Unless we properly address the environmental needs of the basin, we risk events like the disaster in the Darling becoming more widespread and destroying lives and towns. Working together to ensure water allocations are fair and decisions are based on science is our only hope of protecting the basin.
- Philip Langfield and Liam Davies could not be contacted
Pre-poll voting details in Leeton
Where: Leeton Shire Council administration building (council chambers) in Chelmsford Place.
When: March 16 to 22
Times: Saturday: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Wednesday, Friday: 8am to 6pm, Thursday: 8am to 8pm
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