SARAH FERGUSON: Tonight on Four Corners: Buying Back the River***
(On screen text: Buying Back the River, Reporter: Sarah Ferguson)
JOHN MCKILLOP, MANAGING DIRECTOR CLYDE AGRICULTURE: Water is our life blood out here
SARAH FERGUSON: Last month John McKillop sold Toorale Station to the Federal Government.
It was the largest and most controversial purchase so far, in the Government’s plan to reclaim the rivers.
JOHN MCKILLOP, MANAGING DIRECTOR CLYDE AGRICULTURE: It’s always, it’s a mixed emotion, you know, Toorale is a great grazing property, it’s been very good to Clyde.
SARAH FERGUSON: The managing director of British owned Clyde agriculture has kept a low profile since the deal. $23.7-million to take the historic Toorale out of production.
JOHN MCKILLOP, MANAGING DIRECTOR CLYDE AGRICULTURE: Toorale is a total of 91,000 hectares, 2,000 hectares of which has been developed for irrigation.
SARAH FERGUSON: So it, it’s n-not predominantly a cotton farm?
JOHN MCKILLOP, MANAGING DIRECTOR CLYDE AGRICULTURE: No, I wish it was, it would be worth considerably more than $24-million.
PENNY WONG, MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER: We are very aware of the ah, the impacts on communities of this and any other purchase, but I’d make a couple of points, the first on this one is this is a willing seller. The Government, or the Governments, New South Wales and the Commonwealth, chose to purchase this for environmental reasons from a willing seller.Read the transcript.
SARAH FERGUSON: It doesn’t alter the fact that there is an impact on Bourke.
PENNY WONG, MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER: No, but there’s, it’s not a compulsory acquisition, it’s a willing seller. The second point more broadly is.
SARAH FERGUSON: By a British agricultural company who presumably aren’t concerned about the future of Bourke?
PENNY WONG, MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER: Well I never inquired as to who the owner of the company was.
I think Penny's admitted guilt for causing the "death" of the M-D.
Not the drought. "We've" done it.
PENNY WONG, MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER: We know that we’ve historically over-allocated. We know we have not managed this basin as a basin. We’ve managed it as separate rivers. And we know that we’re facing reduced
inflows, historically low inflows, as a result of climate change.
So really the policy task is the same, you have to reduce how much we’re taking out of the rivers.