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|Council to oppose Murray Darling Basin Amendments (20-Feb-17)
Council to oppose Murray Darling Basin Amendments
Council is close to finalising its submission to the Murray Darling Basin Authority opposing their proposed amendments for our region.
Council has worked closely with Namoi Water and representatives from the Wee Waa community to develop its submission which focuses on the business, industry, and socio-economic impacts of the proposed amendments on the Wee Waa community and Narrabri Shire as a whole.
The proposed amendments for the Northern Region include the reduction in the water recovery target from 390GL to 320GL and the implementation of a range of measures aimed at improving northern water management.
The Wee Waa community is particularly vulnerable to the proposed amendments due to its reliance on irrigation within its economy and recovery from recent drought in western districts. The irrigation industry and agriculture in general have made vast improvements in recent decades to improve water-use efficiency. These improvements, although positive for the environment, have seen a reduction in farm labour resulting in the loss of approximately 250 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs between 1999 to 2013 despite the Basin Plan action. These further proposed water recovery measures by the Murray Darling Basin Authority would result in an additional estimated 35 FTE jobs lost in a community already struggling.
“It has been proven that further cutbacks can be detrimental to a rural community that relies on irrigation for its agricultural industry,” stated Mayor Cathy Redding. “No real benefit would be gained within the basin but the negative effects on this community would be far-reaching.”
“Decline in agriculture has a snowballing effect in rural communities resulting in reduced population, declining school numbers and services such as medical and social services.”
The importance of this issue for the Wee Waa community has seen the Wee Waa Chamber of Commerce team up with Namoi Water for the Saving Wee Waa campaign. An impressive video campaign was created and viewed over 400,000 times and has generated a lot of discussion online and within the community.
The Saving Wee Waa group have created an online, two-step submission which has the submission details
Mayor, Cathy Redding stated that she was pleased the submission period for the proposed amendments was recently extended to 24 February 2017 to increase awareness and allow more people to complete a submission.
“It is crucial that this important issue is discussed and considered within our community,” explained Mayor Cathy Redding.
“Council is joining Saving Wee Waa in encouraging members of the community to take advantage of the extended consultation date and make their own submission in support for the Wee Waa community.”