Water fight over extraction from rivers
Tom Arup, 3/3/10
A rift has developed between the federal government and farmers over the forthcoming Murray-Darling basin plan, suggesting a major pre-election fight on water reform. In a broadside four months from the release of the draft basin plan, the chief executive of the National Farmers’ Federation, Ben Fargher, said the government was rushing out the plan without proper consideration of the effects on regional communities. Mr Fargher also accused the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, which is drawing up the plan, of favouring environmental considerations ahead of human and farming needs in determining a cap on how much water can be extracted from the river system. ”The effects on jobs in regional communities from a cap is complex stuff and the plan shouldn’t be rushed for the government’s mid-year deadline,” Mr Fargher said.