Dec 21, 2015
The Coalition’s response to the independent review of the Water Act 2007 was released in December 2015. The Government’s decision to adopt all of the recommendations, some wholly and others partially, including to provide greater trading flexibility for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH), is positive new for Australian dairy farmers.
The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has lobbied hard for increased flexibility for the CEWH in optimising environmental outcomes in ways that
ensure dairy producers have better access to water supplies. Dairy has proved a flexible and responsible user of water. We have adapted our practices
to be more water-efficient. However, reduced access to water resources is already putting pressure on dairy’s productivity and profitability. This
CEWH flexibility is key to helping our industry remain viable. It will also ensure a balanced approach to achieving environmental outcomes in the Murray
The Government’s stated commitment to continue to work towards achieving a total 650GL supply offset is also positive. Achieving the full amount through
environmental works means more water stays in the irrigation pools.
Chair of the ADIC’s Basin Taskforce, Daryl Hoey described the response as a positive first step but highlighted greater improvements in the implementation
of the Act and the Murray Darling Basin Plan are still required.
“That the Government didn’t agree with the submissions of many to amend the Act to unambiguously state a triple-bottom-line objective or to strengthen
the current implementation of the legislation is of concern. Such an approach is critical,” Mr Hoey said.
“It’s good to see the Government amend timelines to some evaluations and reviews under the Act. We now need such revisions to be applied to all elements
of the Act.
“In particular, there is a need for a robust evaluation of environmental, economic and social impacts before considering an additional 450 gigalitres (GL) of water being taken from agriculture.”
To see the ADIC submission to the Water Amendment Bill 2015 click here.
Nov 01, 2015
The Australian Dairy Industry Council’s (ADIC) has expressed concern in a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, regarding the impact of the Basin Plan on dairy business viability.
Aug 18, 2015
The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has reiterated its long-standing support of the 1500 gigalitre (GL) cap on buybacks in the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) with its submission to the 2015 Water Amendment Bill last month. The Bill, which will legislate the 1500GL cap as part of the 2750GL target under the Basin Plan, requires bipartisan support to deliver dairy farmers with much-needed certainty about future water availability to sustain their business.
The 1500GL cap provides dairy farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin with much-needed certainty about future water availability to sustain their business. At the same time, environmental water can continue to be recovered through water-saving infrastructure projects, which will benefit the environment, farmers and local communities more effectively than buybacks.
However, there were aspects of the Bill that the dairy industry did not support, in particular the fact that the 1500GL buybacks cap applies only to water recovered towards meeting the 2750GL target. Additionally, the failure to address long-standing limitations in the Water Act 2007 and the Basin Plan in achieving the socio-economic neutrality and triple bottom line outcomes promoted so often by decision-makers is a missed opportunity.
The ADIC’s key recommendations in the submission to the Bill were to:
- Ensure that the 1500GL cap on buybacks includes the 450GL in the Water for the Environment Special Account
- Clarify that the entitlement transfer to the Commonwealth relating to infrastructure and reconfiguration for state programs are excluded in the 1500GL cap on buy backs.
- The Basin Plan socio-economic neutrality test should include collective impacts on irrigation districts, community and water market.
- Amend the Basin Plan to ensure that the 2750GL target is achieved first before any water recovery is counted towards the 3200GL target, and that any water recovered under the Special Account first covers any shortfall to the 2750GL target.
- Clarify that the 450GL “up water” is an up-to amount, not a minimum.
- Enable environmental water trading where the proceeds can be reinvested in works and activities for environmental outcomes, and to cover the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder’s storage and other costs.
Bipartisan support for the legislative change remains a key priority for the ADIC, with representatives meeting with both sides of parliament to ensure the importance of passing the 2015 Water Amendment Bill is heard and acknowledged across the board.
To see the ADIC’s submission to the 2015 Water Amendment Bill click here.
Jun 18, 2015
The news that the Department of Environment will remove unnecessary audit requirements from the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Programme (OFIEP) has been warmly welcomed by Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF). The relaxation of the requirements, which ADF has been advocating for well over 12 months, will save programme participants in the southern-connected region of the Murray Darling Basin significant time, money and stress.