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Irrigation company praises ministers

The board of Australia’s largest private environmental and commercial water delivery company has praised the commitment of the NSW and Victorian Ministers for Water who have threatened to walk away from the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Murray Irrigation Chairman Phil Snowden said ministers Niall Blair and Lisa Neville had every reason to feel betrayed and disillusioned by the decision to disallow amendments to the plan previously agreed by all states contributing to the Murray Darling Basin Plan, including South Australia.

“This company has been working closely with the NSW and Commonwealth governments and the MDBA to deliver the plan despite the discontent and fervent criticism of some of our shareholder customers,” Mr Snowden said.

“Murray Irrigation and many of its shareholder customers supported the plan and transferred about 30 percent of their water entitlements from productive agriculture for the benefit of the environment, the river system and ultimately South Australia.

“We’ve supported the MDBA in its efforts to manage the Basin Plan and we’d expect other parties to do the same.

“The environment is one our biggest customers; we need a healthy river system and support environmental initiatives that benefit these important ecosystems.”

Mr Snowden said Wednesday’s development had undermined the integrity and science of the Basin Authority and inflicted serious, perhaps even irreparable damage to the plan, to its future and work done to date to support it.

“Some water reform decisions made locally have split communities and even families,” he said.

“At the eleventh hour, when they were trusted to step up, do their bit and deliver, the nation’s political elite have demonstrated a lack of consistency and integrity to a sector already under siege.

“The entire industry is now demanding certainty for investment, farming families, regional cities and communities.”