Farmers call for multi-partisan support for water security in Great Artesian Basin

20 November 2018. Farmers and graziers have have called upon all sides of politics to cease taking the Great Artesian Basin for granted.

Nationals Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, today published an opinion piece in the Townsville Bulletin emphasising the importance of water security.

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Verity Morgan-Schmidt welcomed Mr McCormack’s comments and said that politicians from all sides of politics needed to protect water security, especially in areas at risk of the impact of extractive industries such as the Great Artesian Basin.

“Farmers across Australia know that without water, you can’t produce food to feed and nourish people or drive the basic production which stimulates economic activity and sustainability; especially in farming communities.

“It’s fantastic to see politicians from rural and regional Australia finally understanding the importance of this precious resource.

“Now it’s time for all sides of politics to put their money where their mouth is and stand up for the integrity of the Great Artesian Basin.”

Longreach grazier Angus Emmott welcomed the long awaited recognition of the importance of water to regional communities.

“We’re in our eighth straight year of drought and are completely dependent on groundwater for our survival. Yet all sides of politics seem content to put this at risk by approving mega mines in Great Artesian Basin recharge zones, without conducting a cumulative bioregional assessment.

“Like many Queensland graziers, we have worked hard to improve the sustainability of our water management. We’re delighted to see that political rhetoric may finally be catching up.

“We’re now eagerly awaiting the next announcements to safeguard our water resources, including increased funding for the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative, protection for the Western Rivers region (currently at risk of fracking) and a comprehensive bioregional cumulative impact assessment to be undertaken for the Galilee Basin prior to a single clod of earth being turned.”

Farmers and graziers from Longreach to the Liverpool Plains have frequently highlighted the dual risks posed to the sustainability of regional Australia through climate change and fossil fuel extraction.

“Regional communities are dependent on the availability of water, and a favourable climate. These are the basic building blocks of our social and economic prosperity, and it’s about time politicians - particularly those representing regional areas stand up for water security and action on climate change,” Mr Emmott said.