Since the screening of the Four Corners program ‘Pumped’ over a fortnight ago, the Australian irrigation industry and the cotton industry has been under sustained pressure from a number of environmental NGOs, media and some politicians.
Cotton Australia, and many irrigator groups, has taken the deliberate decision not to engage in a debate via the mainstream media. Instead, Cotton Australia has been gathering the facts, engaging with growers and briefing key decision makers to put our position forward and correct the inaccuracies that have appeared in the media over the past fortnight.
With a number of government inquiries underway, Cotton Australia will be using these opportunities to explain the true regulatory environment that our growers work in.
Cotton Australia will also be publishing a number of fact sheets to address some of the allegations levelled against the industry in the media.
For example, in the Barwon-Darling - which has been the main focus of allegations - 95% of all water flowing through the river system is reserved for the environment.
Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay and General Manager Michael Murray will be in Canberra this week making sure politicians understand:
The regulatory environment and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan protects the vast majority of water in the Basin for the environment.
* Cotton Australia has zero tolerance for water theft, as theft is against growers, their neighbours, their communities and the environment. (However, Cotton Australia wants to stress that allegations levelled against named individuals by Four Corners, remain just allegations, and those named deserve the presumption of innocence while the facts are being determined)
* Cotton Australia is completely supportive of the implementation of the Basin Plan, with complementary measures to drive real environmental outcomes.
* The responsible irrigation industry is the lifeblood of many rural communities, providing employment to thousands.