Ag adaptation the first priority

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Investment and research into agricultural adaptation has been listed as the first priority for the Riverina and Murray Joint Organisation of Councils following the release of its water discussion paper last week.

This would include the establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund and Innovation Hub.

RAMJO water security sub-committee chair Chris Bilkey said the Sovereign Wealth Fund could ensure Australia’s national capital is preserved for investment in creating a strong future for the region.

‘‘We are proposing practical solutions to complex water issues, but everything comes at a cost and needs to be funded,’’ he said.

‘‘The concept of a Sovereign Wealth Fund is all about nations investing in things of national importance. 

‘‘It could be a permanent source of funding for drought relief, infrastructure development, system maintenance and adaptation. 

‘‘What could be more important to the future of Australia than ensuring the health and sustainability of our national lifeline – the Murray-Darling river system?’’

Cr Bilkey said the group was ready to take its whole-of-basin approach and positive solutions to advocate at all levels of government.

He said Federal Member for Farrer and Environment Minister Sussan Ley is brokering a meeting between RAMJO and Water Minister Keith Pitt to ‘‘start the process of ensuring a future for water and for the next generations across the basin’’.