Greens acting ‘reckless and regressive’

Murray Darling Basin: Greens acting ‘reckless and regressive’

UNDER ATTACK: Queensland Farmers’ Federation president Stuart Armitage says the federal agriculture and water portfolios should not be split.

UNDER ATTACK: Queensland Farmers’ Federation president Stuart Armitage says the federal agriculture and water portfolios should not be split.

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Farmers say the Greens are seeking to further its anti-agriculture agenda by seeking to split the agriculture and water portfolios.

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FARMERS have accused the Greens of playing with the future prosperity of rural and regional Australia to further its anti-agriculture agenda.

Queensland Farmers’ Federation president Stuart Armitage said two recent misguided actions in the Senate by the Australian Greens were ringing alarm bells for Queensland agriculture. 

The growing concern follows the Greens’ call for the agriculture and water portfolios to be split at the federal level, and a motion seeking to disallow the Implementation Agenda for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Armitage said farmers would not entertain any moves to break apart the constructive and beneficial grouping of the federal agriculture and water portfolios.

“In Queensland farmers know all too well the bureaucratic inefficiencies that stem from a disjointed and cumbersome agricultural water system,” Mr Armitage said. 

“Agriculture is responsible for the management and use of 60 per cent of the state’s water yet it is regulated and managed across five non-agricultural departments and ministerial portfolios. 

“This arrangement creates a fragmented approach to the planning and management of agricultural water, and means that we do not get the right policy and regulatory outcomes needed to maximise this precious resource.”

“The current Queensland model should not be replicated, particularly at the federal level. The last thing Queensland farmers need is for further bureaucratic hurdles through inefficiencies coming out of Canberra.

“Unfortunately, the Greens have failed to understand that pulling apart the logical and synergistic coupling of agriculture and water will do nothing to address their concerns around water allocations and use.”

Mr Armitage said farmers were also concerned about the recent efforts to undo the Basin Plan Implementation Agenda. 

The MDBA’s Northern Basin Review clearly identified that amendments were needed and would not compromise environmental outcomes,” Mr Armitage said.

In Queensland farmers know all too well the bureaucratic inefficiencies that stem from a disjointed and cumbersome agricultural water system. - Stuart Armitage

“The Basin Plan has a strong history of bipartisan support, and we trust that at the federal level the Coalition and Labor will continue that tradition. That has certainly been the case in Queensland.

“The Greens’ apparent anti-agriculture and anti-irrigation agenda will have damaging real-life consequences for communities, jobs and the production of world class food, fibre and foliage.”

Mr Armitage said his organisation commended the federal government for its continued support in keeping agriculture and water under the same ministerial portfolio, and for accepting the Murray–Darling Basin Authority’s proposed changes to the Basin Plan, which included a reduction to the water recovery target in the north of the basin from 390GL to 320GL to ensure already stressed, irrigation-dependent communities would not be decimated.

On Wednesday the Greens accused Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce of delegitimising the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Greens Murray Darling Basin spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said Mr Joyce’s primary focus was to feather the nests of greedy corporate irrigators, who stole water from a struggling river system.

“Barnaby Joyce has admitted he wanted the water portfolio to protect big corporate irrigators who have been profiting while river communities struggle and go without precious water, proving he cannot be trusted with this post,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

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