McCurdy seeks answers from Water Minister on irrigation costs
Thursday 7 February 2019
Nationals Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy has urged the Water Minister to reduce irrigation costs to local farmers.
Speaking in Parliament yesterday Mr McCurdy said temporary irrigation water prices in northern Victoria were extremely high.
“I urge the Minister for Water to review the way water infrastructure is paid for by the farming community,” Mr McCurdy said.
“Farmers are telling me the current system is not fair or sustainable and that unless things change there will be no such thing as an irrigated family farm.”
Mr McCurdy said the current billing system was simply unsustainable.
“Farmers are finding the cost of water is extremely high. They understand supply and demand but the infrastructure costs are making the cost of farming unaffordable,” he said.
“Temporary irrigation water is trading between $520-$535 in the regon, which is extremely high.
“On top of the annual water costs the delivery share costs are keeping farmers poor and this needs to be revisited.”
Mr McCurdy met with farmers recently in Katamatite and Cobram East who believe the delivery component must be shared by all water owners, not just the end users.
“Without the end users, the water holders could not profit from water trading,” he said.
“The future of the irrigation family farm in Northern Victoria is in real doubt if changes are not made.
“Between local government rates and delivery share ‘rates’ farmers cannot keep absorbing the costs that are passed on to them.”
The Nationals committed at the last election to review water storage and delivery costs to make them fair and equitable.
Mr McCurdy is awaiting a response from the minister.