The recent ABC Four Corners program 'Cash Splash' has ignited debate over the Murray Darling Basin plan. Many different stakeholders have written detailed responses to the program which many argue has portrayed an unbalanced view of the plan.
As part of WGCSA's membership of Primary Producers SA we have a Natural Resources Management liaison. She has put together a detailed collection of the articles and letters written in response to the Four Corners report.
From the NFF statement:
At no point during the 45 minutes of television was reference made to the fact that since 2012 the Plan had returned 2100 gigalitres of water to the river system with almost 700GL coming from efficiency and infrastructure projects. ... Or that the majority of efficiency projects were not carried out by large corporate farms but family farming operations with works valued at, on average, less than $152,000.
Ms Simson said little to no focus was given to the fact that farmers were required to sell water entitlements to the Government, i.e. return water to the environment, in order to access the infrastructure efficiency program. Therefore providing a net water gain to the environment.
"And absolutely no mention was made of the tough scrutiny that applications to access the programs are subject to or the milestone reporting and random 'spot checks' that are carried out by the Australian National Audit Office."
Ms Simson said the program also grossly misrepresented how the water trading system worked.
"There are no new water entitlements. When new dams are built or new crops are planted, water must be purchased from the market – in other words, from other farmers."
"And currently, because much of the Basin is in drought, there are no allocations available for farmers or the environment."
To read the open letter from the scientists, click here.