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e-News Edition #5

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Irrigation Australia e-News publication.

The aim for this newsletter is to provide you with some key topics and links to more information for those keen to read further. Basically if you have time to read nothing else, make sure you check this out.

Hot Topics

1. Message from CEO

2. Survey to Help Improve CMI/DQP Training and Resources

3. Media Release - Customers to have their say in Goulburn-Murray Water

4. Media Release - Outcomes, Not Destruction: Minco Must Deliver on Promises

5. Media Release - Seeing Red Basin Plan Report Card

6. ABCB Engagement in 2022 - Draft Plumbing Code and Rainwater Harvesting

7. Rainwater Harvesting Highlighted at the International Irrigation Conference and Exhibition

8. 2023 Northern Australia Food Futures Conference & Inaugural Ag Tech Showcase

9. The 4th Annual National Renewables in Agriculture Conference and Expo 

10. Summer Overflow Edition - Available Now

11. 2023 Training Courses Now Live for Next 6 months

12. Irrigation Australia NRL and AFL Footy Comp - Register Now!

13. DEW Gov2Gov Water Resource Challenge Annoucement 2022

14. Media Release - Hey MinCo, Where's Your Transparency Gone?

15. Media Release - AEMO ESOO Confirms Energy Transition Held Together with Band-Aids and Hope

1. Message from CEO

Welcome again all – hope your festive break was relaxing.

Our big activity for the last couple of weeks has been the first face to face Irrigation Australia Board meeting and strategy day.

Here’s a bit of quick detail on where I think it will head.

  • Firstly, there is a clear shift in focus from an annual planning day to look at strategy as a process of continuous, adaptive planning – reviewing Irrigation Australia’s progress at each opportunity for the board to interact and hopefully getting ahead of the curve – considering a new environment post-pandemic, new challenges imposed by increasingly intense climate-related events, a new CEO and new Directors.  Tweaking the plan will take a while.
  • The board has an overwhelming desire for Irrigation Australia to take an active role in promoting the positives our industry contributes to broader society, linking to Sustainable Development Goals and so on, and “flexing” a bit more about what is done in Australia including skills and systems which are envied internationally.  You’ll see a lot more about efficiency and sustainability, acknowledging a future with growing demand for improved yield, green spaces and so on, all with less water.
  • We will renew and grow our partnerships with other organisations with common interests including other associations and stakeholders, as well as explore new partnerships with influential groups.
  • We will see new mechanisms to support member engagement including online and other communities of practice to drive policy and advocacy, and the development of scripts – position papers to clearly articulate where we stand on key issues and where we need to be to aid advocacy.  These will take into account regionally-specific needs, and there will be more support for regional committees.
  • Members will be a focus.  Using our existing strengths to support members – for example tools to support onboarding new staff, workforce planning, and broader skilling will be in the pipeline.  We aim to have a structured schools/ attraction program in place in the first half of 2023.  We aim to deliver more targeted event opportunities over the longer term, and we will keep advocating for significant government investment to support training and skills development.
  • Training is at the core of what we do but for the short term we are going to be focussed on quality, compliance and user experience rather than new offerings.  We have grand plans to work on Certification – building the profile and market opportunities for existing certified personnel, value for money with the program, and encouraging greater uptake of certification programs.

Plenty more to come, but exciting times.  Please continue to reach out to me at [email protected] with your feedback and ideas.  Note footytips at the bottom – I think I’m “DCIAL” – you’ll recognise it at the top of the ladder as the season progresses.

2. Survey to Help Improve CMI/DQP Training and Resources

Take the opportunity to help shape the future of training and certification for CMIs/DQPs!

Irrigation Australia is working with Kiah, a consulting agency tasked with independently reviewing the training and certification process of CMIs/DQPs across the Basin States. 

This survey will contribute to Kiah’s understanding of the needs and challenges of meter installers and validators across the Murray-Darling Basin. 

Your answers are anonymous and the views you share will help inform the work Kiah is doing with Irrigation Australia and the Basin States over the coming months to improve the training and support offered to CMIs/DQPs.

The survey consists of 16 questions and will take less than 5 minutes to fill out.

3. Media Release - Customers to have their say in Goulburn-Murray Water

Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW) is currently asking customers for feedback on proposed service standards, capital projects and billing options to help develop its Pricing Submission 2024-28.

GMW is required to develop a Pricing Submission every four years. The submission outlines the prices and level of services customers can expect GMW to provide for the upcoming regulatory period.

To enable customers to easily give their feedback on a variety of Pricing Submission topics, GMW has a new engagement platform on its Your Say @ GMW webpage There is a range of topics to give feedback on now, with additional consultation topics to be added over the coming weeks.

GMW Business and Finance general manager Michael Gomez said GMW has sought to make it as simple as possible for customers to provide feedback.

“From previous customer engagement and speaking to our Water Services Committees it has been clear there is a strong preference for engagement to be centred online,” he said.

“Many of our customers are busy and time poor. Our new engagement platform ensures that people only need to set aside a couple of minutes to submit their feedback, and the benefit of it being online is that they can do so whenever suits them.”

GMW’s Pricing Submission is due to the Essential Services Commission (ESC) in September 2023.

The ESC evaluates the fairness of the prices GMW and the level of service GMW is offering.

The ESC also assesses whether customers have had the opportunity to influence the Pricing Submission.

GMW began engagement for its Pricing Submission in 2021 when it started developing its Service Plans. The Service Plans will form the basis of the submission GMW eventually submits to the ESC, and have informed the Pricing Submission topics GMW is currently engaging on.

Mr Gomez said GMW would also provide opportunities for people to engage in person.

“While online engagement may be the preferred method for most of our customers, we want everyone to have the opportunity to have their say,” he said.

“In the coming months, we will be holding drop-in sessions at our offices for people who want to discuss certain topics regarding the Pricing Submission. We will have similar opportunities for customers to at upcoming events such as the Seymour Field Days.

“Customers can also call us on 1800 013 357, where one of our staff can take them through the Pricing Submission topics and lodge their feedback.”

People can provide their feedback to help shape GMW’s Pricing Submission at

The guidelines provided to GMW by the ESC can be found at 

4. Media Release - Outcomes, Not Destruction: MinCo Must Deliver on Promises

The Basin Water Ministers Council (MinCo) meets this week to discuss finalising the Basin Plan and it must deliver on its promises to regional communities, businesses, workers and the environment.

NIC CEO Isaac Jeffrey said: “Businesses need certainty to invest and employ workers. Changing goalposts creates uncertainty, fosters distrust and heightens sensitivities. MinCo can’t go back on their word or they risk destabilising industries and communities throughout the Murray-Darling Basin.

“Let’s not forget, the Basin is responsible for producing around 40% of our food and fibre, and generates $22 billion at the farmgate with the multiplier in our communities and economy increasing that figure to around $80 billion. That’s jobs. That’s businesses. That’s food on plates. That’s clothes on backs.

“New South Wales and Victoria need more time to deliver their Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism (SDLAM) projects and to potentially add new projects. MinCo must agree to this new timeframe and new projects, if needed, to ensure they collectively deliver on their promises to our irrigation communities and deliver these projects to avoid further buybacks. Reconciliation of the Plan must also be brought into line with these new timeframes.

“MinCo promised neutral or positive socio-economic benefits of water recovery under the Efficiency Measures (450 GL) program. If they walk away from this commitment, it would be a significant betrayal of our regions. It would also have a major impact on government budgets and would arguably not deliver any real, tangible outcomes for the environment. Just adding water isn’t going to deliver results.

“Governments must realise there are better ways to achieve outcomes. The fixation on volumes must end and all stakeholders need to continue to work together to get real outcomes which can be achieved through infrastructure investment and complementary measures. Direct action, direct results. Not pour water and hope.

“Buybacks risk local jobs. They risk local businesses. They risk our long-term food and fibre security. And, they risk adding further to the cost of living pressures being faced by all Australians. Less water in the system will force up the price of water. Higher business input costs make it more difficult to stay in business and employ people, and trade with other businesses up and down the supply chain. For those who stay in the industry, costs will be passed on meaning buybacks are essentially a tax on fruit, nuts, grapes, vegetables, rice, cotton, dairy and sugar which will be felt by all Australians.

“MinCo must extend the timelines, deliver their projects and rule out buybacks. There are better ways to deliver real outcomes for the environment, while protecting our local jobs, businesses and communities, and keeping the pressure off inflation and cost of living.”

More information on NIC’s Basin Plan Position can be found here:

5. Media Release - Seeing Red Basin Plan Report Card

The National Irrigators’ Council acknowledges the release of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan Report Card for 2022 and is pleased to note the progress being made on implementing the Basin Plan.

NIC CEO Isaac Jeffrey said: “The Basin Plan Report Card for 2022 is full of good news, but you wouldn’t know it if you only looked at the risk graphs bathed in red. It’s astounding that great progress is overshadowed by the hunt for perfection – as if predicting the weather, managing thousands of kilometres of rivers, dams and creeks, and implementing the most complex water policy in the world could ever be flawlessly accomplished.

“If you look at SDLAM supply and constraints projects, 30 of 36 projects are likely to operable or very close to it by the deadline, while only six remain at risk. But what does the graph say? It says it’s red and at high risk. That’s over 83% completion, which is a phenomenal effort considering the scale of these projects. There is still work to be done. The six other projects, or potentially a couple of new projects, should be given the time they need to be completed. Overall though, it’s still significant progress.

“The same can be said for NSW water resource plans where the graph says its red and at high risk, because they are all overdue. What you have to dig deeper for is the progress since the last report. Four plans have been approved, nine plans were submitted for formal approval by the end of the year and I’m told the remaining seven have now been submitted. This is great progress and I look forward to the plans being in place in coming months.

“All eyes will be drawn to the efficiency measures projects to see only 26 gigalitres recovered. It’s again in the red, but when you consider it’s a significant proportion of 62 gigalitres needed to be recovered to meet the benchmark, there is still time to reach the target – maybe orange or yellow would have been more appropriate.

“There’s also time to finish the Northern Basin initiatives, noting some may slip a little, but at least the graph shows a more realistic yellow/orange to note the risk and acknowledge that the vast majority of the projects will be completed on time.

“What we should be doing as a country is celebrating the fact that over 2,100 gigalitres has been returned to the environment and is delivering results. 98% of surface water and 92% of groundwater targets have been met with only 49 gigalitres left to recover under Bridging the Gap. Environmental water delivery was down, thanks to the floods, yet somehow both risk indicators for Bridging the Gap and e-water are labelled as good progress, but not on track.

“I think it’s time for the MDBA to reassess its rating scales and come up with something a bit more positive about the progress of the Basin Plan. It’s working and it’s delivering results. There’s still work to be done, but it’s not all in the red as the graphs would have you believe. If you only strive for perfection in a system with so many variables, you’ll never see the wins or appreciate the scale of what has been achieved.”

6. ABCB Engagement in 2022 - Draft Plumbing Code and Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater Harvesting is regulated through the plumbing sections of the National Construction Code administered by the Australian Building Code Board (ABCB).  The Code is updated every three years and in early 2021 the ABCB released a draft 2022 Plumbing Code of Australia version and sent it to Rainwater Harvesting Australia (RHA).

RHA identified the draft 2022 Plumbing Code included a greatly expanded class of backflow prevention controls specifically impacting rainwater harvesting. Previously backflow prevention was largely restricted to preventing backflow from the property into the water utility network. The new ‘Cross Connection controls’ felt there was a risk of backflow occurring from potentially contaminated water sources and contaminating drinking water within the building. On this basis the draft Plumbing Controls proposed three main changes

  1. A Verification Method for determining a hazard rating for potential cross connection controls that set a high hazard rating for, and implied a higher level of controls for, rainwater harvesting
  2. A deemed to satisfy plumbing solution that rainwater tanks for commercial and industrial properties are a high hazard and could be required to have backflow prevention devices requiring annual testing at greatly increased expense
  3. A deemed to satisfy plumbing solution that rainwater tanks for domestic properties are a low hazard. It is recommended a low hazard should be addressed by a dual check valve with an atmospheric port.

The RHA met with the ABCB to discuss the proposal. The ABCB has formal guidelines for new regulatory proposals that require a rigorous rationale for the proposal, a cost benefit analysis and an assessment of any negative competitive impact of the proposal and how that is justified by a community benefit. Unfortunately, the ABCB was unable to provide that documentation.  The ABCB did invite the RHA to make a further submission documenting concerns about the proposal.

A member of the RHA commissioned a report responding to the regulatory proposal. The independent report by Urban Water Cycle Solutions carried out possibly the most comprehensive review of the available data on this topic in the world. Findings from the report include the following.

  • There is no evidence of cross connection and backflow from properties that include utility water supplies and rainwater harvesting and no known health impacts from these properties.
  • The small number of reported backflow events that may have created harm are associated with water utility recycled water connections, industrial and agricultural properties.
  • The evidence shows that health impacts from rainwater harvesting systems are rare.
  • The annual probability of a health impact from rainwater supply is less than the risks imposed by utility water supplies. The result is consistent with peer reviewed epidemiological research that finds that the health risks of rainwater harvesting and utility drinking water supplies are similar.
  • The increased hazard ratings and additional requirement for backflow prevention devices is estimated to create a wealth transfer of up to $3.4 billion (in real terms to 2050) from property owners and the rainwater harvesting industry to the plumbing and backflow industry.
  • There does not seem to be evidence to support the changes proposed by the ABCB which impose high regulatory impacts and costs on property owners and the rainwater industry
  • It would seem that the regulatory and policy effort would be better directed at improved education and knowledge sharing policies that would benefit the entire market equally.

There was an extended process of meeting with the staff of the ABCB, culminating in a meeting with the new CEO and Board Chairperson. The CEO actively investigated the issues presented by the RHA and in late April 2022 advised that he would be recommending to the Board that they revert to the 2019 Plumbing Code in order to have the time for the ABCB to discuss the matter with the RHA.

The RHA looks forward to working more positively with the ABCB in future and including the industry work done on the Residential Design Specification into the plumbing code as advisory content.

7. Rainwater Harvesting Highlighted at the International Irrigation Conference and Exhibition

The IAL Conference & Exhibition and ICID 24th Congress was held in Adelaide from 3rd to 10th October 2022 and brought together irrigation and water professionals from across Australia and the world.

As a testament to the significant role that rainwater harvesting plays in the water sector, Rainwater Harvesting had a dedicated zone at the exhibition featuring key suppliers and the Australian Rainwater Harvesting industry group.

“Rainwater harvesting is a significant source of water in Australia with over 6.3 million people using rainwater in their homes. For 3 million, it is their main source of drinking water. It was great to be able to showcase rainwater harvesting and the important role that it plays in our urban and rural water systems” stated Mike Thompson, Rainwater Harvesting Association Chair.

“It was good to see everyone again after a long time and also meet many new people – from landscapers and farmer to civil engineers. We were able to showcase different ways to do rainwater harvesting and smart ways to use water” Anita from Hydrorock.

New technologies and innovation were a highlight of the exhibition and drew international interest.

“It was great to see the interest in our new products from the international delegates and how keen they were to understand how they could incorporate them into the rainwater harvesting systems they design and install” Bianca from Rain Harvesting.

The ICID Rainwater Harvesting Working Group held a 2-hour workshop on rainwater harvesting that discussed the principles of rainwater harvesting, the Rainwater Harvesting Design Specification and the latest product technology and innovations.

“Our vision is for a community driven sustainable urban footprint, achieved by every building having access to rainwater harvesting, renewable energy and a nature space. ICID gives us the opportunity to share the learnings of the Australian experience. Rainwater harvesting combined with mains water services provides water more efficiently than either system alone. It has significant stormwater benefits, creates a more resilient water system and delivers benefits to both the household and community.” Michael Smit, Kingspan Water and Energy

Rainwater Harvesting Australia would like to acknowledge all our members who participated in the conference. To learn more about the Rainwater Harvesting Association and our members, visit

Click here to view the Rain Harvesting Design Specification


8. 2023 Northern Australia Food Futures Conference and Inaugural Ag Tech Showcase

The Northern Australia Food Futures Conference was established in 2014 and is now the preeminent conference on agricultural development in North Australia. The conference is integral in driving expansion in the north and places northern agriculture on the national agenda. Investors, politicians, industry and community stakeholders from around Australia and the world attend the Conference to explore agricultural opportunities in the north. 

The Food Futures conference will feature agricultural experts from around Australia and the world as well as an emerging agricultural tech showcase and an incredible social program. Speakers will focus on how northern Australia can take advantage of global agricultural trends, the future of agriculture in the region, the environmental impact of farming and the rise in environmentally sustainable agriculture in the north.

The conference is delivered by NT Farmers Association in partnership with OrdCo in Western Australia and AgForce in Queensland.

For morning information about the conference and to register your attendance: 2023 Northern Australia Food Futures Registration

9. The 4th Annual National Renewables in Agriculture Conference and Expo

The 4th annual National Renewables in Agriculture Conference and Expo will be held on the 21 June, as farmers increasingly take up renewables to reduce costs. The Conference will be held in Dubbo with a solar grazing tour the following day. 

Keynote speaker Ross Garnaut, a renowned clean energy expert and author will discuss how Australia, rich in resources for renewable energy and for capturing carbon in the landscape, could become an economic superpower of the post-carbon world. 

Karin Stark, Conference Founder says “We’ve got brilliant speakers to discuss battery storage, bioenergy, future farm vehicles and fuels and of course we’ll hear directly from farmers on how they’re saving money and what they’ve learnt. We are also covering redefining farmers roles in decarbonising the grid.” 

Gemma Clement, from Green Energy Trading will present on navigating certificate schemes available for financing renewables on farm.  

She says “When considering investments and savings in energy for your business, look at a mix of equipment upgrades, sub-metering, renewable energy, battery storage and load shifting. In most cases, these types of investments will attract government incentives that either reduce your upfront expenses or generate revenue through trading certificates; LGCs, ESCs, VEECs and ACCUs. I’ll present on what’s available, cover timelines and some of the hurdles and requirements involved in unlocking these incentive.”

For more information and to book tickets, visit

10. Summer Overflow Edition - Available Now

The Overflow is the official quarterly digital publication of Irrigation Australia in the WA region. The magazine addresses the full spectrum of issues from water and industry policy through to reports on activities in residential, public open space and rural irrigation. Regular features include; industry development update, WA Chair's report, Member's Profile, Waterwise Garden Irrigator and Design Shop membership lists as well as local news and events.

To view the latest Summer Overflow Edition, click here.

Featured Articles:

  • NatureLink Perth
  • Smart Irrigation for Profit
  • Greywater reuse for Irrigation in Commercial and Domestic Applications
  • Gnangara Water use Efficiency Grants

If you are interested in advertising in an upcoming edition of Overflow, check out our media kit here.

11. 2023 Training Courses Now Live for Next 6 Months

Do you need help on how you can build and grow your career in the Irrigation Industry?

A range of nationally accredited qualifications and training programs are available to take you from an entry level to an irrigation expert.

Irrigation Australia is the peak national organisation representing the entire irrigation industry. We provide, nationally accredited, industry qualifications and certifications and for future irrigation professionals that wish to join this ever-growing industry.

We provide a unique blended learning experience, with courses running face-to-face and virtual classroom. Our courses focus on providing a hands on, practical learning experience, so you will learn by doing.

Our trainers are certified industry experts, with years of experience in their respective fields, so you will be learning from the best. You will be taught to be a certified professional in a vital industry, that is expanding quickly. Jobs will never be a shortcoming within the Irrigation industry.

To check out our 2023 Training Courses, click here.

12. Irrigation Australia NRL and AFL Footy Comp - Register Now!

This season Irrigation Australia will be hosting an NRL & AFL Footy Tipping Competition for all of our members.

The first game commences on Thursday 2nd March 2023 so you better be quick and register for the competition now to be in the chance to win $500 worth of great prizes at the end of the season for each competition!

All registrations must be in by COB Wednesday 1st March.

To be eligible for any prizes, you must be an active financial member or employee of a financial member at time of issuing the prizes.  Anyone can play along but we will be checking before parting with $...

To register for the competition, please click here and enter in password ‘IrrigationFooty’.

If you have any questions or queries regarding the competition, please email [email protected].

13. DEW Gov2Gov Water Resource Challenge Announcement 2022

Australian Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) providers to trial automated water metering in South Australia.

Adelaide, Month 2022, the South Australian Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) have announced they will work with technology innovators SpiralData and, along with global cloud provider Amazon Web Services (AWS), to trial world leading technology to better manage water resources and provide water usage information and analytics to water licence holders to facilitate business decisions.

South Australia has an extensive network of 12,000 water meters monitoring the water usage across 80,000 square kilometers. The water data is manually collected impacting on the capacity to capture water usage in real time.

To find new ways of reporting water data across the state, DEW is participating in the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science’s Go2Gov program - which links local startups with projects in South Australian Government agencies.

In this trial, South Australian data science consulting service provider SpiralData, a leading specialist in data lakes, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AIML) will work with their partner, an Australian provider of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions with proven expertise connecting assets that are dispersed across remote and harsh locations. Both companies are public sector partners of Amazon Web Services, and will use a range of AWS services including AWS IoT core, Amazon Lake Formation, and Amazon Sagemaker.

The automated water metering trial aims to determine if the state’s existing water meters can be retrofitted with a telemetry device to reliably submit remote metering data and provide water license holders and the regulator with access to near real-time water usage data and analytics. will deploy a wireless network that connects water meters and facilitates the collection of data. SpiralData will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to help provide data analytics of the water usage data. The goal is to demonstrate how innovative technologies can reduce labour investment and water usage, and assist water license holders to make informed water management and business decisions. This benefits the environment, water users and makes for healthier water resources while opening the possibilities for broadening the water economy.


Kale Needham, CEO Spiral Data said, “... it’s encouraging to see progressive water licensing regulators using IoT and AI solutions to help ensure water security for the environment while simultaneously enabling on-farm productivity and growing the water economy”

Rob Cumming, CEO said, “... this trial is to prove how industrial assets, scattered across an entire state can be connected, which is exactly the kind of problem our technology was designed for, we love getting data from hard to reach places!”

Andrew Winter, Amazon Web Services, Public Sector Head of Channel & Alliances said: “This is a great example of AWS Partners working with industry, and the government, to solve community and environmental challenges. We are excited to collaborate with SpiralData and as they innovate with AWS to promote efficient and sustainable use of water resources in South Australia.”

DEW Representative, DEW said, “... we are so happy to work with Spiral Data and Urban.IO on this trial to discover how their offer of real time data can benefit South Australian Water licence holders and DEW. We’d like to thank those water licence holders for their ready participation in the trial, which will take place over the coming months”.

Andrew Nunn, South Australia’s Chief Entrepreneur, said:

“South Australian startups are developing innovative technologies to address some of the state’s most pressing environmental, social and economic challenges.”

“This project is a fantastic example of how government agencies can benefit from local expertise to streamline operations and benefit customers.”

About Spiral Data

SpiralData builds AI & ML algorithms to optimise complex processes and / or assets. Through thoughtful application of artificial intelligence and machine learning, they give you a decision advantage, so you can minimise risk and transform efficiency. Their Australian team of data scientists, machine learning engineers and technologists work closely with clients in water, defence and food: large, asset-rich organisations with complex processes and critical assets. At SpiralData, we create your decision advantage.

About’s Industrial IoT Infrastructure as a Service is designed to connect things in hard to reach places and allow clients to subscribe to health, status or event data for the same price per month from anywhere in the occupied world. By removing the complexity of designing, operating and maintaining an Industrial IoT system delivers remote asset data at a cost per point historically considered to be impossible. This unique combination of technology and commercial model saw the company awarded AWS ISV Partner of the Year for Australia in 2021. Now nothing is too hard to reach check out

About Government of South Australia - Department for Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS)

The Department for Industry, Innovation and Science fosters the sustainable growth of the South Australian economy by assisting South Australian industries and businesses to succeed. Increasing South Australia's productivity growth through high performing research and innovation systems, supporting the growth of innovative and competitive industries and businesses and improving the state’s manufacturing capability and capacity. For more information visit

About Government of South Australia - Department for Environment and Water (DEW)

The Department for Environment and Water’s purpose is to help South Australians conserve, sustain and prosper. The Department is critical to helping community, industry, and government make good long-term decisions and driving the sustainable development of South Australia’s natural resources and heritage, to deliver economic prosperity and a vibrant and healthy society. For more information visit


14. Media Release - Hey MinCo, Where's Your Transparency Gone?

The Basin Water Ministers Council (MinCo) meets this week and Basin communities and stakeholders are in the dark (yet again) on what’s on the agenda.

NIC CEO Isaac Jeffrey said: “$22 billion worth of food & fibre is grown in the Murray-Darling Basin with a multiplier in economic activity taking that up to around $80 billion. That’s thousands of jobs and businesses which need certainty to operate. Yet the key decision makers in the Basin, namely the Ministerial Council, have fallen back into their old ways and have failed to even publish an agenda in a timely way for stakeholders to review.

“The Ministers promised accountability and transparency, but it seems that only lasted for one meeting. How can decision makers expect to make informed decisions if they don’t consult? How can they possibly argue they are making the right decisions when people don’t even know what they are talking about, let alone the substance of those discussions?

“Every drop of water, every action taken by farmers and every element of their businesses comes under incredible scrutiny from the media and governments, yet MinCo and the Basin Officials Committee continuously operate in a black box, far from the eyes and ears of the people their decisions will impact the most – Basin communities.

“When was the last time the MinCo or BOC actually met in the regions? Maybe they should hold the next meeting in Moree or Griffith or Deniliquin or in the SA Riverland and open the meeting to the public, so we can all see what they are planning or at least be able to ask questions about their plans.

“When four of the Ministers and the vast majority of their public service officials don’t live anywhere near the Basin, it’s the least they could do to drive out there and meet the people whose lives and livelihoods they hold in their hands. Look them in the eyes, listen to their stories and make informed decisions – none of which they’ll be able to do in Sydney or Canberra.”

15. Media Release -AEMO ESOO Confirms Energy Transition Held Together with Band-Aids and Hope

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) this week released its update to the optimistically named Electricity Statement of Opportunities (ESOO) and the news isn’t good.

NIC CEO Isaac Jeffrey said: “NIC supports the transition of our national energy market to incorporate renewables, helping to move the country towards net zero emissions by 2050. As a nation though, we cannot afford for the transition to be rushed, poorly planned or built on ideology and hope.

“AEMO’s most recent update on the National Energy Market reliability has sent a signal in flashing lights – and sadly, they aren’t flashing to attract attention, they’re flashing because of a dodgy, intermittent energy supply.

“The agency has confirmed that the transition is being held together with new and delayed retirements of gas generators which provide base load power. Wind and battery developments have plugged some holes, but ultimately we need gas and coal to continue to bridge the gap until renewables and storage technology can catch up.

“It’s no wonder energy bills are skyrocketing, when the operator has had to call in every bit of help it can muster to try to keep the lights on.

“The more worrying note in the report is the huge energy cliff the National Energy Market will fall off in 2025 with at least five coal generators closing, collectively responsible for 13% of our energy needs. AEMO has called for major, ‘urgent and ongoing investment’ in renewables or we risk breaching the reliability standards by 2027.

“Farmers need reliable and affordable energy to keep pumps and equipment running, and it needs to be delivered on a stable energy grid. Food and fibre manufacturing businesses up and down the supply chain also need to know when they turn on their machines, that they’ll start and it won’t be prohibitively expensive to operate and they can stay globally competitive.

“Failure to deliver affordable and reliable energy will cause productivity issues which will significantly harm businesses and jobs, and will increase the cost of living for all Australians as the price of food and fibre rises as businesses try to recover costs.

“The Federal and State Governments must urgently meet and act to address these issues if Australia has any chance of being able to transition our energy market without bankrupting businesses, families and our nation.”

Till next time, best wishes.....