Joint media release: Improved conditions means no need for Water for Fodder Round 2

4 September 2020

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, The Hon. Keith Pitt MP
South Australian Minister for Environment and Water, The Hon. David Spiers MP

Improved seasonal conditions across much of the Murray–Darling Basin have led the Australian and South Australian governments deciding not to proceed with the second round of the Water for Fodder Program.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, and South Australian Environment and Water Minister, David Speirs, said Water for Fodder had been a successful program that supported farmers during severe drought.

“While we’re not out of the woods yet conditions are better than they were this time last year which allowed us to make this joint decision,” Minister Pitt said.

“Fodder and water markets have softened with hay prices decreasing by 40 per cent in the Goulburn and Murray valleys since the start of the year.

“I recognise that the program was a boon for local communities, with more than $11 million spent on main streets across the Basin on supplies needed to grow and harvest these crops. 

“And it was important to farmers with 85 per cent saying that growing a fodder crop during the drought had a positive effect on their mental health.

“This model of cooperation in delivering this innovative emergency drought measure, will be useful for future drought responses.

“The Australian Government is supporting the regions of the Murray-Darling Basin with a new $234 million package of 11 measures announced today to put communities at the heart of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.”

Minister Speirs said the South Australian Government was proud to work with the Australian Government to deliver support to drought-affected farmers.

“The Water for Fodder Program was an historic agreement to help our drought-stricken farmers during their great time of need,” said Minister Speirs.

“Conditions across the Basin have changed significantly since we first announced the program and we have decided not to continue with Round 2.

“As we always said we would review the program after the first round to assess water availability across the Murray-Darling Basin, protect South Australia’s water security and ensure there was no financial impact to Adelaide water users."

This was a novel program that demonstrated the positive benefits for people when the Australian and state governments work together.