Thursday 24th of October 2019

paying them to destroy the environment...

basin

Australian taxpayers have given a huge corporation more than $40 million, enabling it to expand irrigation in the Murray-Darling Basin under an environmental scheme that has been labelled a national disgrace. 

Key points
  • Billions of dollars in Commonwealth funds have been handed out to irrigators under a scheme designed to help the environment
  • Partly foreign-owned corporation Webster Limited received more than $40 million and has expanded its irrigation operations
  • Farmers say no-one is checking whether grants given under the scheme are delivering their promised water savings

 

Four Corners can reveal that more than $4 billion in Commonwealth funds has been handed over to irrigators, which has allowed them to expand their operations and use more water under the $5.6 billion water infrastructure scheme — the centrepiece of Australia's $13 billion Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The scheme is intended to recover water for the rivers by giving farmers money to build water-saving infrastructure, in return for some of their water rights.

Some of the beneficiaries of the scheme are partly foreign-owned corporations that have used the money to transform vast tracts of land along the threatened river system, planting thirsty cotton and nut fields.

One of the biggest operators is Webster Limited, a publicly traded company that produces 90 per cent of Australia's walnuts and is 19.5 per cent owned by Canadian pension fund PSP. 

Webster has received $41 million from the water infrastructure scheme to grow its empire in the Murrumbidgee Valley, in south-west New South Wales, where it has bought hundreds of square kilometres of land.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-08/taxpayers-helping-fund-murray-dar...