LETTER: Cotton industry has a lot to answer for

I RECENTLY travelled from Mildura right through inland NSW to Airlie Beach, Queensland and return – a 5000km return trip.

I had not driven across the arid and sparse Hay plains since 1999.

It is an understatement to say that I was shocked and horrified to see that the plains are now being used to grow cotton.

 Thousands and thousands of hectares of cotton.

I witnessed this throughout NSW to Goondawindi on the Queensland border.

 Goondawindi prides itself on its cotton industry and is very close to Cubbie Station.

Further on, I travelled into Queensland cotton country.

I travelled over so many dry river and creek beds during this trip.

I witnessed dozens upon dozens of B-double trucks taking huge loads of feed up to the drought stricken areas of NSW and Queensland for stock.

I actually saw one travelling down Deakin Avenue a few days ago.

Australia is the driest continent on Earth. So where does the water for a thirsty crop like cotton come from? Our rivers.

It’s all very easy to read about the plight of the Darling River and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, but to actually see the extent of the main “culprit” cotton growing first-hand is like a slap in the face to us in Sunraysia.

Sadly, the Darling and Murrumbidgee rivers do not stand a chance against this greed and corruption.

Something is very, very wrong. We can’t eat cotton. We can live without cotton but everything needs water to live.

We must all work toward finding a balance not just for now but for the generations to come.

Water is not a commodity. Water is life.

Julie Calaby,

Mildura

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