Strategic Response To Salinity Needed

January 28, 2000 the Rural news

A strategic approach to Australia's worsening salinity crisis is the only viable solution and people should resist its politicisation, organisers of the Community Salinity Summit have warned.

The Community Salinity Summit, to be held in Wagga on February 3 and 4, brings together a partnership of farmers. environmental, social and indigenous groups to give community input to the problem when it reaches a New South Wales State Salinity Conference in Dubbo in March.

Kathy Ridge, executive officer of the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) said the reality is not one government in Australia has made an adequate response to the problem. "There is a growing frustration because governments are not keeping up with the community on this issue." "One of the key factors in convening the Community Salinity Summit was to take that issue out of the political arena and remove the impediments to action."

NSW Farmers' Association director of policy, Mick Keogh, said it was time for governments to recognise landholders alone could not bear the full cost of tackling the salinity issue and meeting the community's expectation about on-farm conservation.

"Rather than politicising this issue there should be a bipartisan approach to finding solutions." "The Community Salinity Summit is going ahead in the spirit of looking for solutions that meet the interests of land holders, the wider community and the environment. It's time politicians adopted a similar approach,' Mr Keogh said.