Min­is­ter tries to ease basin plan con­cerns

The Tatura Guardian - - Front Page - ALANA CHRIS­TENSEN Con­tin­ued Page 3

Fed­eral Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud has moved to calm con­cerns re­gard­ing the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Plan, call­ing on all par­ties to ‘‘take a leap of faith’’.

Host­ing a pub­lic fo­rum along­side Fed­eral Mem­ber for Mur­ray Damian Drum in Shep­par­ton last week, Mr Lit­tleproud told the 150-strong crowd there was more work on the basin plan to be done.

The con­tro­ver­sial 450 Gl of ‘‘up­wa­ter’’ to be re­turned to the en­vi­ron­ment was the ‘‘ele­phant in the room’’ ac­cord­ing to many at­ten­dees who voiced con­cerns about the ef­fect water re­cov­ery would have on the re­gion.

The 450 Gl of water can­not be de­liv­ered un­less it achieves neu­tral or pos­i­tive socio-eco­nomic ef­fects, with a frame­work to as­sess pos­si­ble im­pacts cur­rently be­ing dis­cussed by basin gov­ern­ments.

‘‘The neu­tral­ity test is im­por­tant, it has to be re­spected . . . We

Ad­ver­tise­ment in­tend to re­spect those guide­lines,’’ Mr Lit­tleproud said.

Goul­burn Mur­ray Ir­ri­gation Dis­trict Water Lead­er­ship cochair and State Mem­ber for Shep­par­ton Suzanna Sheed said there must be a broad and thor­ough test ap­plied to any water to be re­trieved for the 450 Gl.

‘‘The best thing you could do for us . . . is guar­an­tee that if there is any neg­a­tive im­pacts across our towns . . . that no water to­wards the 450 will be taken from us,’’ she said to ap­plause from the crowd.

Mr Lit­tleproud said there must be faith.

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