The VFF has described the Federal Government’s response to the Report of the Independent Review of the Water Act 2007, as practical and beneficial.
‘‘It’s pleasing to see some flexibility being applied to the environmental water trading rules,’’ VFF Water Council chair Richard Anderson said.
‘‘When this legislation passes, the environment will be able to use the proceeds from the sale of temporary water to invest in activities that improve environmental outcomes,’’ he said.
‘‘We have consistently lobbied for the environment to use its water as efficiently and effectively as irrigators are required to do.
‘‘Investing in environmental works and measures means that less water is needed to deliver water to wetlands and disconnected floodplains.
‘‘This has less social and economic impacts on farmers and (Murray-Darling) basin communities and reduces the threat of flooding from over-the-bank flows.
‘‘And the benefit for the environment is that more efficient use of environmental water means more sites will be watered.’’
Federal Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce tabled the government’s full response to the Report of the Independent Review of the Water Act 2007 alongside the legislation on December 3.
‘‘These recommendations will improve the operation of the Water Act, to support more efficient and effective delivery of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and its economic, social and environmental benefits,’’ Mr Joyce said.
‘‘While the independent review found that the fundamentals of the Water Act remain sound, implementing these recommendations will improve the practical operation of the Water Act to better support the economic, social and environmental benefits that the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is designed to deliver.
‘‘Water is a precious resource for our communities, economies and the environment, and continues to be a critical input for agriculture.’’
Mr Anderson said the VFF also welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to taking a more serious look at the socio-economic impacts of the basin plan.
‘‘The five-yearly reviews will give basin communities a chance to tell their story of what is happening to their towns and businesses,’’ he said.
‘‘The Federal Government will need to keep a sharp eye on how the self-regulation of the water market intermediaries is working.
‘‘Farmers need to feel confident that the water market is a level playing field.’’