SA comes to the aid of drought-affected farmers

07.11.2019

The Marshall Liberal and Morrison Coalition Governments have reached an historic agreement to support drought-affected farmers across the country in a great time of need.

Adelaide’s Desalination Plant will increase production to provide 40GL of water this financial year, enabling the release of the equivalent amount to help drought-affected farmers around the nation.

Australians have become all too accustomed to the gut-wrenching images of farmers across the country in distress, with many on the brink of financial ruin.

Our farmers work in some of the toughest, most unforgiving climatic conditions around the world, often resulting in significant mental strain on farmers, families and regional communities.

The Commonwealth will meet all costs associated with increased use of the desalination plant and provide the extra water to farmers at less than market rates to maintain minimum production during the current drought.

Premier Steven Marshall said at a time of national urgency, South Australia is proud to stand with and support farmers when they need us most.

“South Australia survived some of the most extreme effects of the Millennium Drought and fully understand the terrible impacts that drought has on farmers, families, regional communities and the nation,” said Premier Marshall.

“We are prepared to provide support, but we will not jeopardise our own water security or do anything that increases costs to South Australians.

“As part of this deal we have also secured a $10 million South Australian Drought Resilience Fund which will be available for our farmers.”

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the agreement once again demonstrated South Australia’s leadership in the Murray-Darling Basin.

“There are farmers across the country crying out for help to keep livestock alive and ultimately feed Australian families,” said Minister Speirs.

“Given our desalination plant sits virtually unused, it’s time to increase its production so water is made available to drought-affected farmers across the nation.

“We have already used the Adelaide Desalination Plant to increase the water available to holders of South Australian River Murray allocations by eight percentage points and we are now further extending these benefits to a broader range of farmers in this time of national need.

“This is right thing to do at a time of national urgency, and our agreement protects our water security, the cost of water in South Australia and helps drought-affected farmers who are doing it very tough.”

Our commitment to South Australia is clear:

  • No adverse impact on Adelaide’s water security
  • No adverse impact on Adelaide’s water prices
  • No adverse impacts on flows to South Australia
  • 40GL of water to be provided this financial year, with an extra 60GL to be provided in 2020-21 dependent on a review.
  • The review will commence prior to 2020-21 and assess the effectiveness of the 40GL, water availability in the Basin and South Australia’s water security and costs
  • The arrangement is once-off, recognising the impact of current drought conditions.

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