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TAS Country : October 14th 2010
10 Tasmanian Country Friday, October 15, 2010 News Workshop focus on a biodynamic future AN Australian biodynamics ex- pert will give a two-day workshop at Hobart’s Royal Tasmanian Bot- anical Gardens next week. Hamish McKay has been work- ing with biodymanics for 35 years. He was the first person to export organic biodynamic wheat from Demeter Bakery out of Australia. His workshop will focus on soil life and how to prepare and use biodynamic preparations, Mr McKay said he hoped his organisation Biodynamics2024 would make biodynamics the farming and gardening method of choice in Australia by 2024. He travels Australia with his workshops teaching growers methods for adopting biodynamics as a way to produce food and fibre and regenerate the environment. ‘‘Biodynamics may sound com- plex, but it is remarkably easy and enjoyable to include in your farm or garden,’’ Mr McKay said. ‘‘The responses are truly re- warding, both personally and envi- ronmentally.’’ The biodynamics workshop is at the gardens from 9am-5pm on Monday and Tuesday. Cost is $70, $115 for couples and $55 concession. For more details and bookings, phone (02) 6655 9853. SIGN OF THE TIMES: Farmers get their message across during a grower meeting at Shepparton. Food bowl anger down the drain A WAVE of anger is sweep- ing the nation’s food bowl after a drastic plan to drain up to 4000 gigalitres from irrigation communities was released last week. Irrigators now fear they will be pressured into sell- ing their water entitlement under the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s plan. Heading their concern is the revelation that the Fed- eral Government’s $12.9 bil- lion Water for the Future program will only recover 2000 gigalitres of the water needed for the environ- ment. Victorian irrigators have demanded the Government end its ‘‘cherry-picking’’ of the state’s water market and instead invest in more irrigation infrastructure and cheaper low-reliability entitlement to find the water. Under the MDBA’s pro- posed plan, Victorian irri- gators would have to sell or save at least 982 gigalitres for the environment. Victorian Farmers Feder- ation water council chair- man Richard Anderson said until now the Government had been plundering Vic- toria’s high-reliability water shares and ignoring the pool of low-reliability water shares on offer. ‘‘They’re discriminating against Victoria, while snapping up much less re- liable water in New South Wales,’’ Mr Anderson said. Victoria’s northern irri- gators own 730 gigalitres of low-reliability water shares, which would deliver an average 256 gigalitres of water to the environment each year. In NSW, the Federal Government has already bought about 245 gigalitres of Lachlan, Gwydir, Macquarie and Namoi water entitlements similar to Victoria’s low-reliability entitlement, at prices rang- ing from $161 to $2239 a megalitre. Victoria’s low- reliability water shares have been trading at less than $200 a megalitre. Victorian Water Minister Tim Holding called for an end to simply stripping basin communities of their most valuable asset. ‘‘We have concerns with what has been proposed by the Murray Darling Basin Authority and the impact this would have,’’ he said. ‘‘We need to look closely to see if there are better ways to achieve improved environmental outcomes.’’ The MDBA’s lengthy guide to the new Basin Plan calls for the environment’s share of the basin’s inflows to rise from 58 per cent to almost 70 per cent of 32,800 gigalitres in inflows. The proposal would leave the basin’s 65,000 farmers with less than one-third of the inflows. The authority estimates only 800 jobs and $805 mil- lion would be lost, but irrigation industry leaders branded the estimate a joke and warned they would fight for a better deal. VFF president Andrew Broad said job losses would be in the thousands given the authority wanted to cut water use by 22-29 per cent. The workforce in irri- gated agriculture across the basin is estimated at 132,000. ‘‘At best they’ve been naive, at worst they drasti- cally underestimate the im- pacts,’’ Mr Broad said. Federal Water Minister Tony Burke said the plan was far from finalised. ‘‘There’s more than a year of consultation to go,’’ Mr Burke said. National Irrigators Coun- cil chief Danny O’Brien said the guide was a ‘‘deliberate policy to depopulate inland Australia’’. ‘‘It’s laughable, the auth- ority should be embar- rassed it put it out,’’ he said. 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October 7th 2010
October 21st 2010