Thursday, 2 September 2021
Statements by Senators
Agriculture Industry, Water Infrastructure
[by video link] I recently spoke on mining exports keeping the Australian economy out of depression. Today I'm addressing the other good news story: agriculture. In the last 12 months, wheat prices are up 33 per cent, corn up 57 per cent, canola up 72 per cent, sugar up 65 per cent and—the one the Greens hate the most—cotton up 45 per cent. It's not politicians keeping Australia out of a depression; it's farmers' hard work and resilience. Drought and cold from the current solar minimum are reducing crop yields worldwide. At the same time, the drought in many places in Australia has ended. Prime Minister Morrison and Treasurer Frydenberg are taking credit for a strong economy that's none of their doing. For years this parliament has been making life as hard as possible for farmers and irrigators. In 2019, One Nation asked this parliament to provide a measly 200 gigalitres of water from the Hume Dam to keep our farmers going through the drought. Labor, the Greens and the Liberals and their sell-out sidekicks the Nationals, teamed up to vote down our motion. As a result, the basin winter crop in 2019 failed.
Here we are in 2021 and the Murray-Darling Basin from Queensland to South Australia is at a high 80 per cent of water storage capacity. Hume and Dartmouth hold 5,700 gigalitres. The water the politicians said wouldn't be there because of climate change is there. This parliament fails again. For weeks now up to 20 gigalitres a day of water that should have gone to farmers has been sent out to sea at the Murray mouth. With Lake Victoria's storage full and Menindee filling quickly, flooding in the lower basin is a real possibility—and still farmers along the Murray and Murrumbidgee are receiving only 30 per cent water allocation.
At these crop prices, is this parliament mad? Give farmers their water and let them grow food and fibre to feed and clothe the world. We have one flag. We are one community. We are one nation. It's time now to allow every Australian to lift themselves up through our own initiative— (Time expired)