The National Irrigators’ Council submission said:
‘‘Independent studies conducted to inform the development of the basin plan showed that buybacks have greater localised negative social and economic impacts on irrigation-dependent communities than investment in water efficiency projects.
‘‘Past governments’ ‘no regrets’ water buyback regime was ill-considered and is leaving a social and economic legacy that will need to be addressed.
‘‘NIC and basin communities argue that the broad socio-economic impact means there should be broader and more comprehensive adjustment funding made available.
‘‘We note that the government recently announced a commitment of $72.656million as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program to assist basin communities increase economic diversification and adjust to a water constrained environment.
‘‘The basin states of NSW, Victoria and Queensland identify and manage projects within their jurisdictions.
‘‘... Over the past 10 years, Australia’s rice farmers have improved water use efficiency by 60 per cent, growing more rice with less water.
‘‘Research shows that Australian growers use 50 per cent less water to grow one kilo of rice than the world average ...
‘‘Individual case studies in the dairy industry provide examples of how dairy farmers are taking advantage of programs in Victoria to deliver water efficiency gains.
‘‘For example, a dairy farmer at Cohuna sought to automate irrigation on his property and applied for funding under the Farm Water Program, a consortium of state and regional Victorian partners and led by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority.
‘‘The farmer noted that the project exceeded expectations and resulted in an increased milking of cows, up from 180 to 260 cows.
‘‘A further case study in Victoria shows how a grain and feed producer commenced laser and channel work on his farm through the Commonwealth On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program when it became available in 2010.’’