Above: Cotton farmers Jono and Wendy Phelps

Cotton farmers Jono and Wendy Phelps want to invite Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young to the district following the Senator’s recent criticisms of the cotton industry and irrigation.

“I would like to invite Sarah Hanson-Young to the region so that I can meet her and show her Wee Waa, Narrabri and the communities on the Namoi River,” said farmer Jono Phelps who grows irrigated cotton at his property ‘Havana’, north-west of Wee Waa.

“I would like to take the Senator for a tour around Wee Waa and Narrabri so she can see and talk to people from our community who help make up the businesses that have become part of the irrigation industry and then take her to Collarenebri so she can see first hand the effect of taking water away from a community”.

Collarenebri suffered huge socio-economic impacts after the Commonwealth’s buyback of water and was singled out in a 2016 government report as one of the worst affected towns.

The removal of water from farming around the town meant employment fell 21 per cent.

Collarenebri lost more than 80 per cent of its water and more than a third of its farm employment.