AgForce has welcomed the LNP’s plan to reduce water prices for Queensland farmers, as well as the release of the long-awaited Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan, because secure and affordable water supplies are essential for regional, rural, and remote communities.
AgForce Water Committee Chair Kim Bremner said the LNP’s future-focused initiative on secure and affordable, access to water was critical if Queensland farmers are to continue to produce high quality, safe, affordable food and fibre for the rest of us.
“A reliable water supply that farmers can afford to pay for is key to agricultural production,” Mr Bremner said.
“AgForce’s Stand With Regional Queensland state election campaign is calling for better use of existing water supplies and reserves, including affordable water pricing arrangements to assist regional economic activity and employment.
“The promise by the LNP of reduced water prices of almost 20 per cent by mid-2021 through modernising the way Sunwater estimates asset renewal costs and recovery would go a long way towards easing the cost of water for farmers.”
Mr Bremner said AgForce had also been calling for funding for water infrastructure projects, such as supporting ‘capping and piping’ of bores in the Great Artesian Basin, to be brought forward.
“The Basin is a critical water source that sustains inland Queensland’s livestock industries and rural and remote communities and delivers about $12.8 billion annually to the Australian economy, including $3 billion from livestock within Queensland,” Mr Bremner said.
“The new 15-year Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan for the management and use of Great Artesian Basin water has been developed in collaboration with water users, and it is essential that agricultural water users continue to be strongly represented and consulted in its implementation.
“AgForce will be looking for the new Stakeholder Advisory Committee to have real influence on government direction on important issues such as further reducing livestock water distribution losses, securing the access of existing users while considering potential new users, and protecting dependent natural springs.
“Our State and Federal Governments must take a strategic, bipartisan view to securing the water resources needed to progress our agricultural industries and the communities of regional, rural, and remote Queensland.”
Water reform is an issue AgForce members can also get involved in with AgForce due to make a submission on the review into the 2004 National Water Initiative, including the key issues of prioritising stock and domestic water uses, release of unallocated water, assessment hurdles for new infrastructure, and water metering and pricing.