Victorian dairy farmer Andrew Leahy is calling on politicians to support rural communities and take a stand against water buybacks.

“We’re already seeing a cost of living crisis. Less water means more expensive farming, which means more expensive food, and that’s bad for everyone,” Andrew said.

The second generation dairy farmer from Murrabit in northern Victoria is referring to water buybacks which would be reintroduced under the Water Amendment (Restoring our Rivers) Bill 2023 being considered in parliament.

Andrew believes these water buybacks will reduce food and fibre production and devastate rural communities.

“Water buybacks would mean some farmers sell off their water entitlements to the government. Once water leaves the area, it doesn’t come back, so over time it gets harder for those who are left to farm in the Murray Darling Basin. It affects the entire community,” he said.

The passionate irrigator, who is also the chair of the Victorian Farmers Federation Water Council, says dairy farming requires irrigation to ensure there is enough water to grow pastures to feed milking cows.

“On a farm like mine we need water to produce food for the community. So many of us in this area rely on water.”

Although the proposed Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Bill 2023, which was introduced to Parliament in September, aims to reintroduce water buybacks from farmers in Queensland and NSW only, Andrew believes Victorian farmers would also be affected.

“We want politicians to stand up for farmers and vote against the Water Amendment Bill,” he said.

“If you value Aussie grown, protect Aussie farms. Keep Farmers Farming.”

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