Australian Farmers Lose In Bid To Save River

Farmers would lose more than a third of irrigation water in Australia’s major food bowl, the Murray-Darling, under a plan released Oct. 8 to restore ailing rivers, posing a new headache for the Labor minority government.

The move could see the value of cotton production cut by 25 per cent, and farmers and irrigators have warned of farm closures, massive job losses and higher food prices if the plan by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority is adopted by the government.

Environmentalists welcome the cuts, saying they will help Australia’s major river system survive future droughts brought on by climate change in the world’s driest inhabited continent.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s fragile one-seat majority government is dependent on support from both rural independents and the Green party and will have to balance both interests in deciding whether to adopt the plan by the end of 2011.



Stories from our other publications