With livelihoods on the line, Minister tells irrigators to wait and see on future water allocations

The State Liberals have called on the Weatherill Labor Government to fully implement its policy announced yesterday to provide advanced probability scenarios for projected water allocations.

Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone welcomed the Government’s announcement today that irrigators would have an increase in their water entitlement to 52 per cent but slammed the State Government for its lack of transparency.

“In a media release for today’s announcement, Minister Hunter stated ‘there is an increasing likelihood that allocations will improve further in the coming months’, however, he failed to provide any forward scenarios or probability as an SA Liberal Government would,” Mr Whetstone said.

“Simply pointing to a River Murray Flow report is not the answer to assisting irrigators with forward planning, as the final decision on allocations is in the hands of the Minister.

“In New South Wales and Victoria, projected water allocation probability scenarios are provided months in advance to give irrigators the ability to better plan ahead and assess whether to enter the water market.

“All we have from the South Australian Government is an earlier opening allocation announcement and fortnightly updates. There are no probability scenarios or any forward projections on allocations to help irrigators.

“I’m urging the Minister to follow the SA Liberals lead and adopt forward planning on water allocations as per the eastern states.”

Mr Whetstone also raised concerns about the Minister’s decision not to travel to the Riverland, where a majority of the State’s irrigators are based, to make today’s announcement.

“The Minister refused my request to address Riverland irrigators at a public meeting and now he is making critical announcements impacting the future of our food producers from Adelaide,” Mr Whetstone said.

“Why wouldn’t the Minister travel to the Riverland and deliver the good news of an allocation increase directly to those who will be impacted most? The irrigators and river communities have many questions to ask the Minister.”