5 Oct 2023
By Hugh Schuitemaker and Alexandra Bull
THE risks presented to the Riverland by water buybacks were hammered home by a gaggle of visiting Coalition politicians in Renmark yesterday afternoon.
Barker MP Tony Pasin was joined by high-profile Nationals Senator Matt Canavan – and others – on the Renmark riverbank to roundly criticise recent changes to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan that effectively clear the way for buybacks.
“Buybacks kill communities,” Mr Pasin said.
“They don’t just kill Victorian communities or New South Wales communities, they kill communities that include irrigation communities here in South Australia.”
The Riverland’s potential for sustained food production would be harmed by the reintroduction of water buybacks to fulfil the Plan, according to the CEO of a local irrigation trust at yesterday’s gathering, which included a meeting inside Hotel Renmark.
Central Irrigation Trust’s Greg McCarron said taking water out of production would affect the Riverland’s long-term productivity
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R I V E R L A N D E R S impacted by the recent flood have been encouraged to provide accounts of their experiences for a state inquiry.
Submissions opened yesterday for the River Murray flood inquiry, aimed at supporting improved preparations for future flooding events.
Riverland-based MLC Nicola Centofanti – who will chair the inquiry – said “home and business owners along the River Murray had their lives turned upside down during the flood event”.
“This inquiry is important to ensure South Australia is better prepared for future flooding events,” Dr Centofanti said.
“The Inquiry will be investigating key aspects of the disaster – including the roles and responsibilities at all levels of Government, the grants processes and river-flow
management and modelling.
“South Australia’s river communities have been under a great deal of stress and strain as a result of these floods.
“It is critical these communities can have confidence in the Government’s response and recovery efforts.”
An estimated 4,000 properties were inundated during the flood, with most requiring a complete rebuild or significant repairs.
Dr Centofanti said experience from local agencies, businesses and individuals would be vital to the inquiry.
“Importantly, we have committed to ensuring that hearings will be held in several communities along the river corridor as well as in metropolitan Adelaide,” she said.
“I encourage any organisation or member of the public affected by the Murray River flooding event to have their say."