Women are leading the fight to revitalise communities, according to the Southern Riverina Irrigators group, with three women from the region attending the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal hearing into fees and charges for food producers.
Murray Irrigation executive director Perin Davey, NSW Irrigators Council policy manager Stephanie Schultz and Deniliquin farmer Louise Burge spoke at the hearing and Southern Riverina Irrigators chairman Graeme Pyle said they, along with other local women, were working hard to represent their community.
‘‘It was awesome to watch these women defending our food and fibre producers who IPART recommends slugging with unreasonable charges, including some increases of more than 100 per cent,’’ Mr Pyle said.
‘‘Our industry can rest assured that we have a strong group of articulate women going in to bat for us.’’
Mr Pyle said the group presented a strong case for greater transparency and called for Murray-Darling Basin Authority charges to be shared by all water users, not just food and fibre producers.
‘‘The message could not have been delivered any clearer,’’ he said.
Mr Pyle also congratulated those behind the Speak Up campaign team, after Federal Assistant Water Minister Anne Ruston told an Agricultural Industry Advisory Council meeting on April 5 she was ‘‘thrilled’’ the group was trying to educate the nation on issues facing the agriculture industry.
‘‘We have barely touched the surface in our attempts to educate the wider community about the importance of food producers to our regions, and the nation as a whole, so it is vital this work is continued,’’ Mr Pyle said.
‘‘It’s a team effort that is helping to educate the broader community about both the importance of food and fibre production to our nation, and the importance of water to food production.’’