Steve Whan, CEO of National Irrigators Council and former Minister for Agriculture in the NSW Labor government, visited Shepparton last month to speak at the Committee for Greater Shepparton breakfast function.
A few areas of note from Steve’s visit:
He expected to hear from everyone in the region that the Connections program (formerly NVRIP) was a total disaster (that is the perceived wisdom outside the GMID). Though it has had its problems, he heard many farmers and stakeholders say that the program had been, on the whole, a positive for their business. Views he will no doubt take back to the broader Murray Darling Basin irrigation community.
He got the message of our firm belief that not only is the 450 GL proposed up water to South Australia potentially disastrous economically for our region, but trying to get that amount of water (or a significant portion of it) would damage the Goulburn River. This would undo the good that has been achieved by the careful use of environmental water in the region. What is the point of trying to (allegedly) save one environmental asset – the lower lakes – by damaging another one – the Goulburn River.
The National Irrigators Council has a strong presence in Canberra, and good links to Barnaby Joyce’s and Tony Burke’s office. It is important for the Committee for Greater Shepparton to continue to develop a strong relationship with the council, and all stakeholders, as we continue to advocate for water policy that enhances environment and enables a thriving irrigated agricultural economy. We firmly believe that the two can co-exist.
We thank Steve for coming to visit our community and hope to see him again soon.
By Sam Birrell
CEO Committee for Greater Shepparton
To see more photos from our members breakfast, please have a look at our Gallery.