Water buyback laws on government agenda

FARMERS have backed the Abbott government's plan to push through a 1500-gigalitre cap on water buybacks in the Murray-Darling basin.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the plan, which would require new legislation, would be brought forward. The National Farmers' Federation supported the plan.

Water taskforce chairman Les Gordon said the buybacks under the previous government had "hurt rural and regional communities".

While the cap on water buybacks was promised as early as 2012 by the then-Opposition, the legislation was not filed in the Coalition's first 18 months in office.

The government has promised to ensure up to 2750 gigalitres of water was returned to the basin system for environmental flows, despite concerns from environmental groups that figure was not enough.

However, Mr Gordon said the NFF would now start "seeking support" for the legislation from the Senate crossbench and Labor.


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