ADF clarifies comments on Murray Darling Basin Plan

ADF welcomes the opportunity to respond to questions around our recent Dairy Insight column in the Stock & Land and other newspapers.

The situation facing farmers in the Murray Darling Basin must be addressed before we lose more farmers. Fodder and water are trading at untenable prices
and we recognise the impact at the family, farm and community level.

All dairy farmers can rest assured that ADF continues with its proud 77 year history of passionately representing the interests of dairy farmers.

The objective of the column was to share a view that drought is the major factor impacting on basin communities, including of course dairy farmers.

ADF has a long-standing position not to abandon the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

We have stayed firm in fighting to stop the federal government from buying back water once 1500GL has been recovered, as stated in the Water Act.

We have also urged that any plan to drain an extra 450GL from the Basin for the environment must be viewed as a last resort and only if there are neutral
or positive, NOT negative, socio-economic impacts. This means a cost-benefit analysis and consideration of any future effects on communities.

ADF has also supported the ACCC investigation of the water market to validate assumptions of water use along the Murray River system, including irrigation
and environmental demand and the impact of constraints, and to ensure greater transparency in water trading.

The Murray Darling Basin is home to around 1,330 dairy farm businesses with a value of production worth more than $2.6 billion, supporting over 3,000 direct
jobs in the region. Dairy sits at the heart of the Basin community.

ADF continues to urge state and federal governments to consider any impacts the Basin Plan may have on dairy jobs and local communities.

But while this is paramount, we also urgently need an agreement between commonwealth and state governments to provide a national approach to drought preparation,
response and recovery.

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