Nanango MP Deb Frecklington and LNP Natural Resources shadow minister Dale Last call for the water irrigation fees to be waived.
Nanango MP Deb Frecklington and LNP Natural Resources shadow minister Dale Last call for the water irrigation fees to be waived. Emma Murray

MPs call for waiver as farmers pay for water, get nothing

QUEENSLAND'S drought is so severe that several government-owned and operated irrigation schemes are so dry they are unable to provide water to their farming customers.

The drought has created a situation where farmers are paying fees on their water licenses, even though they are receiving none of their water allocation.

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington has called on the Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham to consider the Part A portion of the fees to be waived.

She said this would help irrigators who were facing ongoing hardships from lack of access to water.

"It is understood that Part A was established to fund the costs of managing the scheme and maintaining assets, however, it is unacceptable for Sunwater to expect irrigators to pay Part A when they receive no water, and it is unlikely they will receive water for some time,” Ms Frecklington said.

This comes after the Barker-Barambah Water Supply Scheme in the South Burnett's water allocation for medium-priority customers was reduced to 0 per cent on July 1, 2019.

Barker-Barambah irrigators have previously been extended waivers for their Part A charges during periods of 0 per cent allocation between 2006 and 2009.

"Since the South Burnett has been drought-declared since March 2017, I believe it would be suitable to consider such actions again,” Ms Frecklington said.

LNP Natural Resources shadow minister Dale Last said the Labor Government had waived the fees during previous periods of severe drought.

"Farmers in the Lockyer Valley, South Burnett and Southern Downs and other other regions are currently paying money for nothing and it doesn't make any sense,” Mr Last said.

"If Seqwater and SunWater can't deliver water to grow farmers' crops, then farmers shouldn't have to pay for it.

"It's time for Labor Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham to waive these unfair Part A fees to assist our struggling drought-affected farmers.”

Dr Anthony Lynham's office has been contacted for comment.