The Long Road Ahead For Riverina Citrus & Water Reform

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8th October 2010, 11:40pm - Views: 893
The Long Road Ahead for Riverina Citrus & Water Reform

Riverina Citrus Chairman Frank Battistel believes today's announcement of the Guide to the Murray Darling Basin is the start of an extensive consultation period before the Plan is finalised.

The Murray Darling Basin Authority's proposal is to remove between 3000 and 4000 gigalitres of water from productive use from across the Basin and the Murrumbidgee Valley has been identified as requiring cuts to its water entitlements in the range of 26 to 43 per cent.

"I urge our growers to remain calm through this period of consultation. We are studying the draft Plan's recommendations but it seems there are still many questions to be answered and it is quite a few years before this Plan is due to be finalised.

"Riverina Citrus will be preparing a submission in the next couple of months and we will be speaking with a range of state and federal politicians in order to achieve the best outcome possible for our growers.

The Murray Darling Basin Authority is expected to work with a range of stakeholders through a consultative process and present a revised Plan to the Federal Minister for Water in late 2011. The Plan will then go before Parliament after which the NSW State Government will prepare a compliant Water Sharing Plan due for completion in mid 2014.

About $20 million has already been spent by the citrus industry on water-efficient irrigation equipment and as a whole the industry has given back millions of Litres of water with no compensation as they have always supported a healthy Murrumbidgee River.

"It is heartening that the Federal Government and Opposition have committed to Buy-Back of irrigation water from only willing sellers. It is now important that all levels of Government work to ensure that the Water market is freed up to assist this adjustment process; efficiency programs and infrastructure funding is wisely spent and there is support for community adjustment. I am confident that we have a strong case for maintaining the water resource for our industry," Mr Battistel said.

The Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (M.I.A) remains an attractive region for irrigated agriculture. The climate and soils are ideally suited to a range of crops that require minimal chemical input. The irrigation system is close to the Snowy Hydro ensuring there are minimal transmission losses. We have good transport infrastructure and a skilled workforce. There could well be opportunities for this region to refocus and concentrate on high value agriculture.

The Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area includes the city of Griffith and townships of Leeton, Hillston, Yanco and Narrandera. Riverina Citrus represents 500 farmers and the industry generates approximately 2,500 jobs.

Frank is available for interview by print and broadcast media.

Frank Battistel,
M: 0429 996 776

Scot MacDonald,
Executive Officer
M: 0428 624 333

Julia Southgate,
Media Manager
M: 0414 276 990

SOURCE: Riverina Citrus

The Riverina is Australia's largest citrus growing region, producing approximately 30% of Australia's citrus products.

The Riverina Citrus industry comprises of over 500 citrus properties, supplying 45 citrus packing sheds and 8 citrus juice processors throughout Australia. Fresh quality fruit and juice is supplied to domestic and export customers.

For more information on the Riverina Citrus industry visit

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