The river communities of St George and Dirranbandi are reeling after the Australian Senate voted against a recommendation by the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to reduce the water recovery target by 70 gigaltires in the Northern Basin.
The decision means the future of the entire Murray Darling Basin Plan is now uncertain with some states threatening to walk away from the process.
Greg Nicol, Total Ag Services, Dirranbandi, said the local community was “numb” believing the decision would ultimately cost jobs.
“I guess the best word to sum it all up is that we are numb,” Mr Nicol said.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young had moved a disallowance motion to overturn the water recovery recommendations by the MDBA and the motion was passed with the support of the Labor Party and some of the cross-bench last night (Wednesday).
Mr Nicol said the situation was “ridiculous”, and he believed the decision was purely political.
“It’s just politics and… the realisation that we’re just collateral damage,” he said.
“The votes aren’t here in the country.
“We always thought that the Murray Darling Northern Review was about jobs, and obviously it was – but it’s not the jobs we thought along the river community, it’s the jobs in the political sphere.”
Since the announcement has been made there have been numerous statements from politicians regarding corporate irrigators – something Mr Nicol said was definitely not reflective of community concerns.
“They’re talking about corporate irrigators and it's easy to have a crack at the tall poppy but as a community we've got a couple of corporate irrigators and they're every bit a part of the community as everyone else,” he said.
“They employ local people, they pay the same taxes, they sponsor community events – they are the community, we are the community, we’re all part of it.
“I wouldn’t differentiate between any irrigator and a corporate irrigator – the ones we’ve got anyway are great corporate citizens of our local community.
“They (politicians) are a bunch of clowns.”
Read more about the Wednesday night decision here.