Warren farmers and residents have been urged to contact federal senators ahead of an impending decision on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
Cotton Australia general manager Michael Murray said parliament will soon vote on a Disallowance Motion moved by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young which would increase the Northern Basin water recovery target by 70 gigalitres.
He said the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) own modelling demonstrated 180 extra jobs would be lost across the Northern Basin – including 25 in Warren – if the Disallowance Motion proceeded.
MDBA forecasts show 89 jobs would be lost in Warren, 13 in Trangie, and 41 in Narromine under a 320GL water recovery target. But a 390GL target would cost 114 jobs in Warren, 17 in Trangie and 55 in Narromine.
“If successful, the Disallowance Motion will wind back the achievements of the Murray Darling Basin Plan to date, and threaten the viability of communities and the livelihoods of hard-working farmers across the Northern Basin,” Mr Murray said.
“[The motion] would prompt further additional losses in rural economies – communities that are already struggling with extremely limited access to water.
“We call on people in the Northern Basin to have their voice heard by contacting their local senators … to let them know that enough is enough – towns will wither even further if this Disallowance Motion goes through.”
MDBA acting chief economist, Dr Phil Townsend, said the condition of many Basin rivers and wetlands had improved because of higher rainfall and an increase in flows for the environment.
"This improved condition of rivers and wetlands in specific areas should coincide with positive changes in communities. These community benefits are expected to include increased tourism, increased populations, better amenities and lifestyles, and benefits to industries such as agriculture," Dr Townsend said.
"The Basin's unique natural assets are also vital to the region's thriving tourism. Many people may not realise that tourism is worth as much as irrigated agriculture – expenditure by overnight visitors to the Basin has increased by $1.8 billion over the past five years and is now worth around $7.5 billion per year.”