THE Darling River needs special protection from source to the Murray, as its highly variable nature means the community and environment are already subject to lengthy stressed periods of low or no flow.
Good governance is about protecting the water resource and environment for current and future generations, not short term gain for a select few.
The NSW government continually refuses to implement legislation to protect low flows in the Barwon-Darling River and prevent future environmental disasters similar to the massive fish kills at Menindee in early 2019.
Any plan which fails to prepare for these episodic events over the full length is likely to fail catastrophically.
Members of the Menindee Stakeholder Advisory Group have continually articulated recommendations to the NSW government that ensure connectivity of the Darling River from the north to the south.
They have also pushed to establish flow targets in the river and storage targets in the Menindee Lakes and Lower Darling and to protect the first flows in the river following dry periods before access to irrigation is allowed.
This same advice has been provided by numerous independent reviews of the management of the Barwon-Darling River.
Yet, the government insists on protecting the interests of a select few irrigators before considering the interests of the environment and the communities that depend on a healthy river.
The Barwon-Darling and Lower Darling River is the lifeblood for indigenous communities, townships, pastoralists, and water users along its entire length.
Surely the NSW government can understand that the long-term health and productivity of the river and the communities that depend on it must take precedence over upstream irrigation interests.
Menindee Stakeholder Advisory Group.
BUILDING A WOOL FUTURE
I grow Merino wool, sheep and grain (including barley) at Cowra in NSW.
In the past few years when speaking to my wool agents, I have found that more than 90 per cent of the wool I produce is bought by Chinese wool mills to process then on sell to the world markets.
I have always been concerned with putting all our eggs in the one basket and felt that if something went wrong with our relationship with China, it would have a great deal of power over our wool and grain industries. In good times all is all well, but now, in conjunction with the virus, we are in a position that is tenuous.
Wool prices are going through the floor and our grain is being held hostage.
Some in Australia think if we can placate the Chinese then in return they will be kind enough to take the brakes off the duties and start paying a fair price again.
The answer I get from the powers to be is that we don't process our wool in Australia because the Chinese can do it cheaper.
This is not good enough!
Our governments have been directing money to stimulate our economy a billion here, a billion there for infrastructure, move a museum, or build an extension to a roadway. Yes, this is all fine, but why cant we also direct some government funding towards building the infrastructure necessary to create our own wool processing industry?
This could value add our wool and create employment, and in the longer term be run by our own wool industry.
The world situation is changing and we need to look forward for our own industry and economic protection. We produce the best and most desired wool in the world. We shouldn't be held hostage by anyone.
We have organisations like the National Farmers' Federation, Australian Wool Innovation, plus others that need to all work together with government to overcome any road blocks and get this done for the future of Australia
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