A Senate committee has been told water buybacks are cost effective and savings should go to creating jobs in rural areas

A Senate committee examining whether to lift the current cap on water buybacks has heard evidence that it would be cheaper to buy more water from farmers and then inject savings into rural communities to create other types of jobs than opt for water-savings projects – but the federal government has never explored the option.

The committee is examining legislation, backed by Labor, the Greens and independents to repeal the cap that prevents more than 1,500 gigalitres of water being bought back from agriculture to assist the environment.

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