Murray River Group of Councils Media Release - Basin Plan Games Risk Food Security

Published on 15 February 2018

The Senate’s political games are endangering the future food security of this nation.

Cr Cheryl McKinnon, Chair of the Murray River Group warned today that by blocking the Northern Basin changes, the Senate has put the entire Basin Plan on the brink of collapse.

“We are dismayed at this decision by the Senate that puts the whole plan at risk,” Cr McKinnon said.

“Remember the Plan is all about achieving a balance - improving the environment without destroying Basin communities.

“The result of the Senate blocking the recommended adjustments – this one and potentially the 605GL southern basin adjustment, would be disastrous for our communities. It would force the Commonwealth to go back to purchasing water.

“We know from independent studies and from listening to our communities that taking more water from northern Victoria will devastate our agricultural industries when the next big dry comes.

“That means horticulture – it will mean pulling up permanent plantings of fruit trees and grape vines or more growers walking away from their blocks as is already happening in some locations.

“That means potentially the entire dairy industry in northern Victoria – gone. That’s 25% of Australia’s dairy production.

“This is your food bowl we are talking about – this is about securing ourselves up for the challenges of this century to feed our nation as our cities and regions keep growing.

“And the human toll of that is something that we don’t hear much about from Senators. But we in local government do. We hear from our communities of the mental strain, the stress and the uncertainty.

“Our communities have lived with uncertainty for years now around water and if the Basin Plan collapses, well that is the worst outcome, for the environment, for the economy and food security, and for basin communities,” said Cr McKinnon.

The Murray River Group of Councils comprises six councils in northern Victoria, Mildura and Swan Hill Rural City Councils and Loddon, Gannawarra, Campaspe and Moira Shires.