New Ag Minister visits Moree
The Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association (GVIA) together with Stahmann Farms hosted the new Federal Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud on Monday, 29 January 2018 at “Trawalla” east of Moree. The visit was organised by local Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton and the opportunity was used to showcase the innovative work of our local agricultural industries.
The Minister met with GVIA executive Officer, Zara Lowien and David Reibel the “Trawalla” farm manager from Stahmann Farms, to see first-hand the upgrades to the farms irrigation system and discuss future opportunities for expansion of the industry.
(Mark Coulton, Minister Littleproud and David Reibel pictured left)
Mrs Lowien said “permanent horticulture like pecans, oranges and olives are well suited to the soils and climate within our region, we are only limited by the availability of reliable water supply from high security or groundwater entitlements”
“Advances in irrigation efficiencies like converting flood irrigation to drip systems over the past-decade, have allowed permanent plantings to expand and we’ve seen tree numbers increase for both pecans and oranges as a result” she said.
“The flow-on benefits locally have already been noted, with increased demand for more regular labour as well as new skills to adapt to the challenges of horticulture” she said
“More people employed and more people moving to our region is good for the community” she said
“We just need more reliable water available, to build on this opportunity” she said.
“Our message to the Minister was around the benefits and long-term value that improved water reliability and increased permanent agriculture could have for a regional community like Moree that is agriculturally dominated and hence, directly impacted by seasonal conditions and water reforms like the Basin Plan” she said
“We asked for leadership on the current water issues before the parliament, to secure proposed changes like the Northern Review Amendments, which would see a 70,000 megalitre reduction in water recovered for the environment across the Northern valleys, as well as investment in complementary measures” she said.
“The Northern Review amendments provide an opportunity for governments to recognise the impact of past policies and rebuild confidence in regional communities” She said
“We can’t afford to waste that opportunity” Said Mrs Lowien.