The Murray Darling Basin Authority’s proposed cutbacks to water allocations for irrigators of between 22% and 29% will cost jobs, slash production, and put Australian vegetable growers under even more pressure from the current flood of imported produce.

AUSVEG Communications and Public Affairs Manager Hugh Tobin said, “You can’t cut water allocations by up to 45 per cent in some regions and not expect job losses, a loss in vegetable production and further importation of vegetables.”

AUSVEG is the National Peak Industry Body representing over 9,000 Australian vegetable and potato growers.

“Our growers can’t take this. And consumers are going to get a shock when they find that these decisions hurt them in the hip pocket. From the vegetable industry’s perspective the proposed plan does not strike the right balance.”

“There needs to be a transparent independent economic assessment of the effects of this proposal on jobs and the flow on effects for consumers. There is grave concern that the economic modelling, that suggests 800 jobs will be lost, drastically underestimates the consequences of this plan.”

“Already the government is proposing a carbon tax, now they want to cut back water allocations, and then there is the rising Australian dollar. Australian growers can’t cope with all of this. There needs to be more focus on the social and economic effects of the proposed plan.”

“The report admits that the Government has no idea how much water is actually needed to improve the health of the river system. How can we put at risks whole communities as part of a plan that is not based on solid scientific evidence?”

“There should be a greater emphasis on saving water through government investment in water infrastructure and better management practices on farms rather than cutting allocations.”

“We can’t just flow a whole heap of water down the river and hope that it will fix all the problems with the river system. We actually need to know what is needed and balance this against the devastating social impacts of cutting water allocations to rural communities.”

“AUSVEG has been working with growers through its EnviroVeg program for years to help improve the environment and save water of farms. They are very efficient users of water.”

“Australia imported more than half a billion dollars worth of vegetable products in the past financial year alone. Any more loss of production as a result of this proposed plan will be a major food security concern for our country.”

“To cut back 3000 to 4000 gigalitres for environmental flows is just too much. At the very least the cuts need to be introduced slowly and growers need sufficient compensation. Otherwise you will destroy businesses, families and communities,” said Mr Tobin.

Hugh Tobin, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, AUSVEG
Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0431 939 920, Email: