News

Council votes against irrigation buyback

By Yarrawonga Chronicle

Buybacks of irrigation entitlements have been a major grey area in Australia this year with local council voting on the matter.

At the June 24 Moira Shire Council meeting, councillors voted to support MDA Region 2 advocacy to the Murray Darling Association on the following basis: 

1. That the proposed 450 GL up water should not be sourced through buybacks of irrigation entitlements in the southern connected basin; 

2. If on farm efficiency programs are to be used to obtain the proposed 450GL then they should be subject to an independent socio-economic analysis that proves that such transfers do not cause negative socio-economic issues in regions where water is being recovered; 

3. That the passage of water intended for irrigation use downstream be minimised to flows that do not cause environmental harm to river environs and in particular the Barmah National Park and Barmah choke on the Murray River and the banks of the heritage listed Goulburn River downstream of Eildon Weir. 

Cr Peter Mansfield moved a motion to not support the proposed buyback of water entitlements from Murray Darling Basin. 

“At a recent MDA Region 2 meeting I was requested to provide the below motion from the group for council’s discussion and consideration,” Mr Mansfield said. 

“After discussion with the CEO a slightly modified recommendation has been listed. 

“1. That the Murray Darling Association does not support the proposed buyback of 450 gl of water entitlements from the Murray Darling Basin. 

“2. That the passage of water intended for irrigation use downstream be minimised to flows that do not cause Environmental harm to river environs and in particular the Barmah Choke on the Murray River and the banks of the heritage listed Goulburn River downstream of Eildon Weir. 

“3. If on farm efficiency programs are to be used to obtain the proposed 450gl then they should be subject to an independent socio-economic analysis that proves that such transfers do not cause negative socio-economic issues in regions where water is being recovered.”

Cr Kevin Bourke supported Cr Mansfield’s motion and said: “I fully agree with the resolution, the time is right, we need to take a big stand.”

Cr Marie Martin also agreed but was skeptical on how council’s motion would be received.

“I support the motion however say good luck – we’re doing our part,” Cr Martin said. 

The motion was carried with a unanimous vote.