Fighting to the last drop

Red Cliffs farmer Bill McClumpha and Nichols Point’s Jason Modica share concerns about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
Picture: Carmel Zaccone

Red Cliffs farmer Bill McClumpha and Nichols Point’s Jason Modica share concerns about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. Picture: Carmel Zaccone

BILL McClumpha’s views on water have put him at odds with a few Nationals MPs, some among the ranks of the Victorian Farmers Federation and irrigation lobbyists around the country.

The dried fruit grower still irrigates the same Red Cliffs fruit block he grew up on and is fiercely passionate about the health of the Murray-Darling Basin and the politics of water management.

He’s never shied away from advocating the importance of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan but warns Sunraysia risks missing out on its environmental benefits and a pot of gold he says could be worth “billions of ­dollars” to the region’s economy.

The Victorian Government, Mr McClumpha says, has put the interests of the ailing Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) and its battling dairy farmers ahead of the smaller but more buoyant Sunraysia.

In the balance is a bucket of $1.5 billion set aside for projects capable of recovering 450GL of water for the environment, on top of the 2750GL already accounted for under the basin plan.

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