Premier Campbell Newman and Cabinet in Goondiwindi
On Sunday 21st October 2012 the Qld Premier and his cabinet visited Goondiwindi to talk with the local Council, buisnesses and community on various issues within our region. BRFF were fortunate to arrange a meeting with the Premier, Minister Andrew Cripps and local member Lawerence Springborg.
We thank David & Kim Coulton, John Norman, Nigel Corish and Matthew Oxenford for representating BRFF and discussing issues that concern licence holders within the Border Rivers Catchment.
Minister Tony Burke Visit December 2010
The purpose of Minister Burke's visit was for him to hear from local stakeholders their issues with the Basin plan process to date. We were asked to organise the invitations to the meeting and included in the gathering local Government, Chamber of Commerce, NRM bodies: Border Rivers / Gwydir CMA and QLD Murray Darling Committee, Tie Up the Black Dog Committee as well as most of the BRFF Management Committee.
The meeting, held in David Coulton’s workshop, saw a valuable exchange of opinions on the Basin Plan and other issues relating to agriculture and our communities in the Border Rivers. Mr Burke was accompanied by his advisers and a couple of senior departmental staff, and it's always good to see these people out getting their shoes muddy.
David Coulton and Tim Napier with members from NSWIC on a Fact-finding Trip to Menindee Lakes
In November 2009 we were very lucky have a Sharing The Knowledge tour, organised by NSW Irrigators Council, and also by irrigators for the irrigators
Irrigating in a Changing Climate
Irrigators from accross Australia share in techniques that have enabled them to:
1. Improve Productivity
2. Decrease Water Usage
3. Boost Farm Profitability
Three speakers delivered their own stories on what practices they have implemented on their own farm/s to achieve the above three key points, this was a free seminar and was open to the general public.
Minister Wong's visit to Goondiwindi
On March 2nd 2009 the Murray Darling Association held a forum in Goondiwindi titled 'National Plan For Water For The Future'.
The Federal Minister for Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong attended (albeit briefly) and delivered the keynote address at the Murray-Darling Association’s Water Forum, in Goondiwindi on Monday March 2nd. She announced the bringing forward of $2 million of funding for the QLD Healthy Headwaters project to investigate how best to spend the $110 million for the QLD part of the basin. Apart from this, her message was that the reform of water management in the basin will continue as promised and she re-stated the importance of the basin being managed as a whole regardless of state borders. No surprises there.
Following her address to the Forum we met, along with NSW and National Irrigators Councils and QLD Farmers Federation, with Minister Wong and her 4 advisors. Issues covered were:
Uncertainty created by the buyback and negative impacts on local communities. Response: Every community in the basin is in the same situation and everyone will feel the pain of the coming changes, to some extent. Concern about the buyback proceeding without any targets for how much they need to buy from any one area. We don’t oppose buyback in principle, just the speed with which it is happening. Response: Acknowledge our concerns, but buyback is being done on a “no regrets” basis, from willing sellers, so they are only buying what water irrigators are offering voluntarily. Environmental targets will be specified in the Basin Plan in 2011 and the water bought now will mean a smaller adjustment will be required then.Concerns that there has been no consultation with communities and little consultation with stakeholders about the whole water reform process. Response: This will happen in time. We are only at the start of what will be a long processThe trade barriers that exist in some states (VIC and SA) will potentially focus the buyback on NSW and QLD, especially in the short-term. Response: The Commonwealth is working with Victoria to remove the barriers of trade to attain a level trading field.
We asked that the Minister consider that our members have already forgone large proportions of their water in the State planning process, without compensation. Response: That is a State matter and she can only deal with the situation as it currently exists.
Following this meeting BRFF conducted a tour of David (Chairman) and Kim Coulton’s property, “Morella”. The Minister saw cotton growing and a working, northern irrigation property for the first time. Those on the tour were the Minister and her 4 advisers, representatives from Cotton Australia, CRDC, Goondiwindi Regional Council, StateWater, NSW and National Irrigators Councils and 4 BRFF Committee members. Many of our issues were discussed in the paddock, over lunch and in vehicles as we travelled with her. While only a very brief visit, the Minister said that she understood better the northern perspective by being here. Goondiwindi was the first stop in a 4 day tour of the northern basin by the Minister.
Border Rivers Food & Fibre would like to thank David and Kim Coulton for offering their time and property to us to show the Minister around and the lunch they provided for the some twenty people that were on the tour.
Senator Xenophon's visit to Goondiwindi
Following the Forum, Tim also had the opportunity to spend a short time with South Australian Senator, Nick Xenophon and take him on a brief tour around Glen and Anna Smith’s property, “Koarlo”. Again, a number of fundamental issues were discussed with him during the tour. It is always difficult to appraise the success or otherwise of visits like these, with many varied issues being discussed. The underlying aim was to continue, in the case of the Minister, and to initiate, in the case of Senator Xenophon, a credible and effective dialogue. We certainly achieved this. In some ways we were fortunate to have a visit at all, as some other valleys were missed completely or had a much shorter time with the Minister than we did. We will continue to talk with the Minister and with Senator Xenophon.
Border Rivers Food & Fibre would like to thank Glen and Anna Smith for offering their property and time for the tour.