Water Licence Concerns Must Be Addressed

AUSTRALIA - There are concerns that the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s (DSE) Dairy Shed Water Licence Transition Programme will lack the support of Victorian dairy farmers unless significant changes are made.
calendar icon 4 February 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

The United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV), President Chris Griffin said the programme, which included an amnesty period for eligible farmers to apply to license water used in dairy sheds without penalty, had a number of flaws which needed be amended before the amnesty ends on 26 February 2010.

“The programme will not maintain the support of dairy farmers and achieve its intended objectives unless their concerns are adequately addressed. These include the issues surrounding unregistered farm dams, Goulburn-Murray Water’s (G-MW) license fees, and the metering requirements for licenses issued under the program,” Mr Griffin said.

“Some dairy farmers sourcing dairy shed water from their own farm dams did not register their dams when they were able to in 2002. Since it is no longer possible to obtain a registration licence for dams, they are now required to apply for a Section 51 Take and Use License, which will attract considerable application and on-going fees.

“As such, the UDV questions the need for fees to be paid for infrastructure that those farmers have built themselves at their own cost and which require no administrative monitoring costs from the water corporations.

“Another major issue of concern for Northern Victorian dairy farmers are the license fees applied by G-MW under the program. While G-MW customers with a Groundwater or Surface Water Licence face an additional twelve hundred dollar fee to register their dairy wash down water, farmers within other jurisdictions do not attract additional fees. The UDV would like to see G-MW fall in line with the other major water corporations.

“The UDV also questions the metering requirements for licences issued under this program, even for small volumes below the current metering thresholds of 10 ML for surface and 20 ML for ground water.

“We will continue to work with all levels of government to address these issues. With an unprecedented ten years of drought, compounded by a significant decline in milk prices, it is essential that all dairy farmers have certainty and security over their water sources to ensure the sustainability of their farm businesses,” Mr Griffin concluded.

For more information about the Dairy Shed Water Licence Transition Programme please click here.

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