Can­di­dates will sink or swim

Shepparton News - Country News - - WATER TALK -

Water pol­icy will take cen­tre stage at a fo­rum in De­niliquin on Sun­day, with can­di­dates run­ning in the by­elec­tion for the NSW state seat of Mur­ray set to dis­cuss key is­sues in the re­gion.

The Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 14 by­elec­tion will see Na­tion­als can­di­date Austin Evans, La­bor’s Michael Kidd, in­de­pen­dents Brian Mills and Peter Robin­son, Shoot­ers, Fish­ers and Farm­ers can­di­date He­len Dal­ton and Aus­tralian Greens can­di­date Ray Good­lass stand for elec­tion fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of the Na­tion­als’ Adrian Pic­coli.

Fo­rum or­gan­iser, the Speak Up cam­paign, said while water would be high on the agenda, a num­ber of other key top­ics would be cov­ered be­fore res­i­dents hit the polls, in­clud­ing the pro­posed De­niliquin Air­port up­grade.

‘‘Our re­gion needs good pol­icy around water, which drives our economies, cre­ates jobs and has to be man­aged in a way that pro­tects our en­vi­ron­ment,’’ Speak Up spokesper­son Shel­ley Scoullar said.

‘‘We all know the Mur­ray Val­ley has been hit hard by po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions and other deals around water, mainly the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Plan.

‘‘The next three weeks pro­vides the re­gion and the can­di­dates with a unique op­por­tu­nity to tell us how they are go­ing to find the bal­ance which so far has been sadly lack­ing.

‘‘Our farm­ers are ef­fi­cient water users and our re­gion has fer­tile, pro­duc­tive soils. We also have one of the world’s most ef­fi­cient grav­ity feed ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems.

‘‘It is all cur­rently be­ing un­der­utilised and is at fur­ther risk with the basin plan.’’

Mrs Scoullar said Speak Up did not sup­port the ex­tra 450 Gl of up-water tied to the basin plan and said the process in­volv­ing the sus­tain­able di­ver­sion lim­its had been ‘‘un­ac­cept­able’’.

‘‘We be­lieve every can­di­date should give an un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment that their party will, un­der no cir­cum­stances, sup­port the 450 Gl up-water. Noth­ing else is ac­cept­able,’’ she said.

The fo­rum will al­low vot­ers the op­por­tu­nity to meet the can­di­dates, lis­ten to an ad­dress from each can­di­date and ask ques­tions of the can­di­dates.

The event is open to the public and a bar­be­cue will be pro­vided. ➤ For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion email: speakup4wa­

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