Water

Impacts of no allocation to be studied

By Country News

A government review will examine how communities have been affected by a zero general security water allocation, newly re-elected Member for Farrer Sussan Ley has announced.

After being returned to parliament for the seventh time, Ms Ley said she expected the review to commence as soon as the government returned to Canberra and take six months to complete.

‘‘It’s not just a review for the sake of it, it’s actually real, chaired by (rural advocate) Robbie Sefton, known to many farmers,’’ she said.

‘‘(It will benchmark) where we are, where we need to be and what the impacts of current policy are on farmers and their water allocations.

‘‘That will give us the evidence we need to really make a case for change.’’

Asked when the government would take dramatic action to aid desperate farmers suffering under the water crisis, Ms Ley said she did not ‘‘deal in the dramatic’’ or ‘‘deal in crisis’’.

‘‘I deal in support, consideration for the best policies going forward, immediate help where needed and empowering communities to face difficult times but also to help construct the future that’s best for all of us in the real world,’’ she said.

For the many local irrigators who were praying for a pause to the controversial Murray-Darling Basin Plan, Ms Ley’s re-election was not good news.

Ms Ley had argued a pause to the plan would be worse for farmers if Labor, the Greens or independents seized control of parliament. But even with the Coalition forming government, she still was not budging.

‘‘It wasn’t my main reason for not backing a pause to the plan, it was because it’s actually not achievable by one government in a group of basin states to make that happen,’’ she said.

‘‘... we don’t need to pause the plan, we need to improve the plan.’’