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There’s plenty of water, so why are these farmers banned from touching it?

Article image for There’s plenty of water, so why are these farmers banned from touching it?

The federal environment minister insists she’s “shaken the tree” to stop drought-ravaged farmers being banned from accessing water.

Southern parts of New South Wales have plenty of water in the rivers but it’s all tied up by commonwealth bureaucracy.

The Murray Darling Basin Plan forces farmers to let water flow past their drought-stricken properties, through to the green pastures of South Australia.

Fears there won’t be enough irrigation water to go around this summer have led to panic buying in recent days and a 25 per cent spike in water prices.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley says she’s aiming for a more flexible water plan that sends reserves to where they’re needed.

“From outside the portfolio I demanded, like many, that we look for flexibility.

“I shook the tree from the outside, I’ve gone in and shaken the tree from the inside.

“That river’s transmitting a lot of water… a lot of it is going to South Australia and that’s why they have to sit at the table and be part of a discussion about whether they need as much.”

The situation in the NSW Riverina is very different from northern parts of the state where the rivers have already run dry.

Alan Jones questions if the government is going to let the same thing happen down south before they finally act.

“How long is this going to take? Sussan, they want this today!”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview


Feature Image: Mirrool, NSW on October 4 (Facebook/Sussan Ley)