Farmers back MDBP probe
The NSW Farmers has backed a call for a Commonwealth royal commission into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).
Farmer Chris Stillard spoke in support of the motion at the recent NSW Farmers conference, saying it could be a “disaster” if forecast dry spring conditions prove accurate.
“The Murray system has zero allocations for the second year in a row,” he said.
“We are going to see a dramatic increase in the price of water, it's going to cause a lot of angst and a lot of anger.”
Public trust in the MDBP is eroding, with a South Australian Royal Commission finding “gross negligence” and “maladministration” at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, a report from the Productivity Commission finding many major water-recovery projects at serious risk of not being completed on time, and a draft review from NSW’s Natural Resource Commission finding the 2012 Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan is “in crisis”.
NSW Farmers president James Jackson said there is “deep frustration” about water policy being exacerbated by ongoing drought conditions.
“The MDBP is a complicated plan, it's got deals that were done at Federation overlaying science that's been done recently so it's a constantly evolving piece of work,” he said.
“I don't think it's beyond review and the conference called for a royal commission … and so that's what we'll be pursuing.”