Water

Market pressure

By Country News

Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed says there is a widely held view the Murray-Darling Basin Plan studies are not showing what people are seeing on the ground.

Ms Sheed made the comments during her evidence to the Senate Select Committee inquiry into the plan, during its final public hearing in Canberra two weeks ago.

She said farmers were capable and willing to embrace opportunities but were working ‘‘with one hand tied behind their backs’’.

Ms Sheed was giving evidence on behalf of the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District Water Leadership Forum, which is commissioning its own socio-economic study regarding the impacts of the plan.

‘‘We have soil and the climate — we just need to add water,’’ Ms Sheed said.

VFF water council chairman Richard Anderson said farmers hadn’t had time to see the benefits of the environmental water.

!‘‘We have got to a point where we can’t afford to lose any more water,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s really starting to have an effect on our farmers.’’

He said the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was putting pressure on the water market.

‘‘It’s making the temporary water market more expensive which means more expensive for the farmers as well,’’ he said.

In response to Ms Sheed’s comments, Tongala farmer Wade Northausen said anybody who created another voice was helpful to the message farmers were trying to get across to the government.

‘‘It’s good to see that Suzanna Sheed is going on board with us,’’ he said.

Fellow Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District Water Leadership Forum member and Committee for Greater Shepparton chairman David McKenzie told the senate hearing: ‘‘We are here unashamedly advocating for the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District.’’