Water

Feeling the impact of the basin plan

By Country News

The social and economic impacts of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan are stark and real, yet they are still not being acknowledged.

Last week SunRice advised it was sacking nearly 50 workers, mostly from its Deniliquin mill. That’s 50 families with one less bread winner, in some cases the major one.

The previous week the Wakool Football/Netball Club, situated west of Deniliquin, announced it doesn’t have enough players to field teams in 2016 and is going into recess.

These players have traditionally come from its surrounding farms but they’re not employing workers, or even retaining family members on the property, because they can’t afford it.

This is what the basin plan is doing to our communities, yet we can’t get either politicians or the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to acknowledge the extent of the problem.

The MDBA tells us on its website that it is tracking the social and economic effects of the basin plan, but in reality this is not happening.

All it does is tick boxes from its Canberra office with very limited knowledge or care factor of what’s happening across the basin.

There are solutions which can give the MDBA an effective balance between water for food production and environmental flows.

It’s a shame we do not seem to have the political will to achieve it.

—Bert Schultz, Mayrung