NSW Farmers’ Association, Media Release, 11 April 2023
Farmers say scrapping Dungowan Dam is a short-sighted move that will limit future food production.
State Water Minister Rose Jackson announced Dungowan Dam would not proceed in the wake of the federal budget, saying it would save taxpayers $632 million.
But NSW Farmers Tamworth Branch chair Kevin Tongue said it was a bad decision that would have long-lasting impacts on the region.
“We grow a lot of food and fibre in this region and we’ve got incredible soil, but you can’t grow anything without water,” Mr Tongue said.
“Having this dam would have enabled farmers to grow more, which in turn would have driven the regional and state economy and given consumers more food and fibre.
“I think this is really short-sighted given the enormous potential for agriculture and the increasing need for our products as the global population grows.”
Mr Tongue said locals were also deeply concerned about future water security given predictions of a return to El Nino.
“While the Minister is talking about strategies to improve water security, we’re living with the memories of the last drought,” he said.
“We nearly ran out of water in Tamworth during the last drought and everyone agreed we needed to build more dams to make sure that didn’t happen again.
“Without water farming communities will perish, and I am deeply concerned about what the long-term impact of this decision will be.”