According to Citrus Australia, The Murray Darling Basin guide has failed in its attempt to address a balanced triple bottom line, which includes not only the environment, but also the economic and social considerations.
Citrus Australia CEO, Judith Damiani says over 2.1 million people live and work in the Basin.
“If it was a city it would be Australia’s third largest, below Melbourne and just above Brisbane. This ‘city’ is being asked to give up between a quarter and just under a half of its water for food and fibre production. Anyone can see how devastating this will be,” she says.
“95 % of Australian oranges are produced in the Basin along with many other fruit and nut crops such as grapes, apples and almonds. The main citrus growing regions within the basin are facing cuts of between 26 to 43 %, bound to cause enormous impacts on jobs and families.”
Damiani says that, despite the Australian government promising to buy these environmental requirements from willing sellers, there has not been enough consideration given to the effects of the plan on local communities, the value chain, and food security.
She maintains that Citrus Australia is committed to a healthier river system but not at the expense of growers, their families and regional communities.