Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) has welcomed the return of the water policy that places a 1500GL cap on water buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin.

“We are happy with the transfer of the responsibility for water to the agricultural portfolio, because it is Basin communities like the MI Area (MIA), and our farmers, who actually have to deal with the outcomes of the Murray Darling Basin Plan,” said MI Acting CEO, Matt Thorpe.

“Water is the lifeblood of the MIA, and a critical input for agriculture. Our water resources must be managed sustainably and with a long‐term vision.”

Mr Thorpe welcomed the Turnbull Ministry and said MI was looking forward to strong and productive relationships with Ministers to support and grow the region.

“We are pleased to see Minister Barnaby Joyce expand his Agriculture portfolio to include Water Resources,” he added.

“Minister Joyce lives in the Basin, understands water and has a strong connection to farming communities.”

It has been a big past few weeks, with MI also welcoming the 1500 GL cap on water buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin, secured into legislation through the Water Amendment Bill 2015 Mr Thorpe said the Company’s focus has been on ensuring that implementation of the Plan does not negatively impact farmers and the community.

“We fully support initiatives that minimise the loss of productive water from our region,” he said. “The cap improves business confidence and provides a degree of longer term certainty for the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.”

Murrumbidgee Irrigation has been working the National Irrigators’ Council and other peak bodies to pursue a campaign for a legislated 1500 GL cap, and Mr Thorpe commended both sides of Government for demonstrating their commitment to irrigated agriculture.

“The cap on buybacks does not alter the Commonwealth’s water recovery target, but it does limit the amount of water that can be bought back out of productive use,” he explained.

“We continue to support the Commonwealth’s investment in infrastructure and the on-farm efficiency projects like those currently available throughout our area. Murrumbidgee Irrigation has secured over $250million of Commonwealth funding to generate water savings, both on and off farm,” Mr Thorpe added.

“Investment in on farm and system delivery infrastructure supports both water efficiency and regional productivity.”

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