NSW Upper House Water Inquiry

Irrigators from across the region told a committee of NSW Upper House representatives about their struggle to get enough water for their crops.

The politicians were part of a parliamentary inquiry, which sat in Moree on Monday, investigating the status of water in NSW, and how its future can be secured.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC and committee chair Robert Brown said where ever he went in regional NSW, the underlying problem was the availability of water.

“In Moree, the primary product is cotton and cotton is an export earner for the state – export dollars are important to us,” Mr Brown said.

“Over the last decades, cotton producers have done a huge amount of work in reducing the amount of water used per yield, but have exactly same problems as Peel Valley irrigators.

“They don’t have sufficient security for their water supplies and that effects their investment.

“Unless we can solve the problem, we’re probably going to be in a bit of trouble in 50 years’ time.”

Committee member and Christian Democratic MLC Paul Green said the price of water should be high on the government’s agenda.

“We talk like crazy about this hot topic of affordable housing, but out in regional areas it's affordable water,” Mr Green said. 

Mr Brown said the inquiry would wrap up in November, with the committee submitting its recommendations to the government.

“Whether the government of the day accepts those recommendations or decides to do anything about it is really on the shoulders of the government itself,” Mr Brown said.

“Unfortunately governments and parliaments in this country think in four-year terms and three-year terms.

“But with an issue like this, we’re talking about the future of the nation and certainly the future of our state.”

Unless we can solve the problem, we’re probably going to be in a bit of trouble in 50 years’ time.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC, Robert Brown