‘Plan signals death of region’

THE Riverina faces a bleak future under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, according to Griffith-based farmer John Bisetto.
Nanjing Night Net

“It’s going to absolutely decimate towns like Griffith and Coleambally,” he said.

The plan had been described as a plan of compromise by Water Minister Tony Burke, but irrigators such as Mr Bisetto believe too much has been sacrificed.

The NSW Irrigators’ Council and the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia believe it has compromised Australia’s food production needs for political gain.

Cutbacks to water entitlements could see the price of crops such as rice skyrocket as irrigators are forced to either switch to less thirsty crops or stop growing altogether, according to Mr Bisetto.

“During the last drought, rice went to $550 a tonne because nobody was growing it because nobody had water,” he said.

“Can these people not see that this is going to happen again once you restrict water?”

Mr Bisetto plans to maintain the rage against a plan he deems “unacceptable” and he won’t be alone in his crusade.

But with the plan now passed into law, it seems the cutbacks, due to come in to effect in 2019, are now inevitable.

Griffith mayor and Murray Valley Stakeholder Group chairman John Dal Broi predicted that many irrigators would lose the will to fight against the plan.

“We’ve got to make a determined effort to work within the plan,” he said. “We have won a lot in the fight of the last three or four years but we always knew we had to compromise to some extent.”

Griffith irrigator John Bisetto

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