North Wanneroo rural tour highlights water crisis facing growers

Attorney General Christian Porter (2nd left) and MLA David Honey (white shirt) with North Wanneroo Residents Association members. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d491297
Attorney General Christian Porter (2nd left) and MLA David Honey (white shirt) with North Wanneroo Residents Association members. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d491297

RURAL landowners took State and Federal politicians on a tour of Nowergup and Carabooda to highlight the water crisis facing growers.

The March 1 tour followed a State Government announcement earlier this year that water licences for the rural suburbs and Neerabup would be reduced by 10 per cent in 2028 rather than the 25 per cent proposed under the previous government.

North Wanneroo Residents Association chairman Mark Zagar said farmers and residents were united in opposing any water license cuts and or charges.

Mr Zagar said the proposed cuts would reduce the value of properties and businesses, and their capacity to get loans to expand.

Landowners say water cuts will make more farmers go broke and create a “rural slum”.

“Farmers will be forced into an untenable position to maintain loans with reduced incomes,” he said.

“Many farms will become unviable, creating a rural slum and derelict farm wasteland.”

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Pearce MHR Christian Porter and WA Opposition water spokesman David Honey joined the tour, during which they were shown examples of a trend of unviable farms going broke and the drying environment.

Mark Zagar said a better plan could make Nowergup and Carabooda a “prosperous, healthy” asset.

Mr Zagar said the residents association was campaigning for a “better plan” based on the 2007 The Future of East Wanneroo report to create a rural lifestyle and tourism precinct in the Nowergup-Carabooda valley.

 

In a letter to Community News last month, Wanneroo MLA Sabine Winton said the North Wanneroo Agriculture and Water Taskforce, which she chaired, focused on addressing water licence allocations and giving growers certainty.

Ms Winton said while the taskforce recommended no cuts to growers, the State Government acknowledged the amount of groundwater taken from Perth’s aquifers needed to be reduced because of climate change.

“We need to ensure groundwater remains a long-term viable and low-cost water source for Perth, and the government’s plan ensures this,” she said.

“The taskforce clearly emphasised that without a new source of water, market gardening in Wanneroo will decline and have a limited long-term future.

“The government has made the difficult but responsible and balanced decision to cut water allocation licences by 10 per cent starting in 2028.

“This decision also sees the government investing in a new water use efficiency program to support growers to operate in a dryer climate giving growers time and real practical support leading up to 2028 and beyond.”

Lake Nowergup.

In a statement before the tour, Mr Porter said growers should be supported and given more water certainty.

“North Wanneroo has long been a farming area, providing fresh fruit and vegetables to Perth, interstate and overseas,” he said.

“The local industry has developed into a real asset for our community and significantly contributes to our local economy, with the City of Wanneroo’s total agricultural sector employing about 1040 people.”

Ms Winton said the taskforce also investigated a new water supply and future precinct opportunities.

An artist’s impression of North Wanneroo Residents Association’s ‘better plan’.