Senators ignore horticulture industry concerns about Basin Plan amendments

Aerial-River Murray web

The Almond Board of Australia (ABA) is extremely disappointed that the Senate has voted to support the Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Bill, without critical changes.

ABA CEO Tim Jackson said in recent months a significant amount of time has been spent highlighting what is at stake for communities living in the Murray Darling Basin if more water buybacks were permitted.

“We made a submission to the senate inquiry about this Bill, we’ve travelled to Canberra and Sydney to meet with politicians and attended the Taste of the Basin event at Parliament House but it seems that our concerns have been ignored, especially by Labor, the Greens and some Independent Senators.” he said.

The Almond Board of Australia has worked closely with the National Farmers Federation, National Irrigators Council, the New South Wales Irrigators Council and other farming bodies to provide a united voice.

“Buybacks will cause hardship in Basin communities, but this move will also be noticed by all Australians when they visit the supermarket and their groceries cost more,” Mr Jackson said.

The ABA is not opposed to the original elements of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, but a combination of measures must be used to achieve further environmental benefits.

“It’s essential that we have healthy rivers and there are many ways this can been achieved, yet more water buybacks is seen by the government as the quickest and easiest way to get things done,” he said.

Water Minister Tanya Plibersek said buybacks must provide value for the taxpayer and benefit the environment.

She has also committed to considering other water saving options.

“The ABA will continue it’s advocacy work to ensure these promises aren’t forgotten,” Mr Jackson said.

Because amendments were made to the Bill it now needs to return to the House of Representatives where it is expected to pass.

For further information contact ABA Communications Manager Kellie Hollingworth on 0409 393 403 or