Labor ignores farmers’ pleas for water while flooding Gunbower Forest with 82GL
19 September 2018
Victorian farmers were abandoned again by Daniel Andrews today, with the Premier refusing to help secure more water for drought-stricken dairy farms in Northern Victoria.
Up to 82GL of water will flood into Gunbower Forest, near Cohuna, by November – while dairy farmers in the region are struggling to maintain their herds through this developing drought.
The Gunbower Forest water is enough to keep more than 80 family dairy farms operating and producing more than 200 million litres of milk over summer.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said some dairy farmers had already made the heart-breaking decision to sell off entire herds due to the drought.
“All we got today from the Premier for Melbourne was confirmation he doesn’t have even a basic understanding of how water is allocated in Northern Victoria, and he still doesn’t seem to care about the dire predicament some of our farmers are in,” Mr Walsh said
“In these dry conditions, water flowing into Gunbower Forest does not mimic natural conditions at all – it’s doing the exact opposite while the hard-working people who put food on our tables are losing their livelihoods.”
Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan said water resources must be used efficiently, especially in a prolonged dry spell.
“Farmers are right to question whether the Gunbower watering is the best use of a precious resource right now when temporary water is trading around $330/ML and dairy farmers need every drop they can to sustain their herds and grow fodder,” Ms Ryan said
“At a time when farmers are desperate for water, Daniel Andrews and Lisa Neville should be looking at every option to help them – not ignoring legitimate questions and predictably trying to shift blame to the Commonwealth.
“We should be using every drop of water we can to support our farmers to save their farms and their livelihoods.”