State de­fends pipe­line tac­tics

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

The State Gov­ern­ment is adamant it has fol­lowed state and fed­eral fund­ing pro­to­cols sur­round­ing an East Grampians Wa­ter Sup­ply Project, set to pro­vide greater wa­ter se­cu­rity for Ararat district com­mu­ni­ties.

The of­fice of Wa­ter Min­is­ter Lisa Neville re­ported that claims from po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents at fed­eral and state level that the State Gov­ern­ment had yet to gain for­mal ap­proval for a joint fund­ing ar­range­ment were ‘un­true’.

The State Gov­ern­ment an­nounced last week that it would pro­vide $32-mil­lion for the $85-mil­lion pip­ing project as part of its 2018-19 state bud­get in what rep­re­sented a ma­jor win for the re­gion’s farm­ing com­mu­nity.

But Fed­eral Mem­ber for Wan­non Dan Tehan claimed af­ter hear­ing the news that the Com­mon­wealth was still await­ing a for­mal fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion for the project.

Ms Neville’s of­fice re­sponded, pro­vid­ing de­tails that stated the State Gov­ern­ment had pro­vided a busi­ness case for the project to the Com­mon­wealth in Fe­bru­ary.

It also pro­vided de­tails about a Mi­ti­amo Retic­u­lated Wa­ter Sup­ply Project.

The state­ment showed: “The La­bor Gov­ern­ment has ap­plied for fund­ing un­der stage two of Na­tional Wa­ter In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment Fund for the Mi­ti­amo Retic­u­lated Wa­ter Sup­ply Project.

“In Fe­bru­ary, the busi­ness case was pro­vided to the Com­mon­wealth for the East Grampians Wa­ter Sup­ply Project and Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have had dis­cus­sions with fed­eral of­fi­cials about the pos­i­tive ben­e­fits of the project for the re­gion.

“Grampians Wim­mera Mallee Wa­ter has also made rep­re­sen­ta­tions about the project to Com­mon­wealth MPS.

“The Mi­ti­amo busi­ness case was com­pleted in time for stage-two sub­mis­sion un­der the NWIDF whereas the East Grampians busi­ness case was done later.”

But Mr Tehan’s of­fice stood firm when pre­sented the state re­sponse, say­ing pre­sent­ing a busi­ness case to the Com­mon­wealth fell well short of a for­mal fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tion.

Vic­to­rian Op­po­si­tion wa­ter rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steph Ryan and Coali­tion col­leagues Louise Sta­ley, Ripon, and Emma Kealy, Lowan, were also crit­i­cal of cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the an­nounce­ment.

Ms Neville said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment needed to ‘step up and match our fund­ing’.

“Rather than play­ing pol­i­tics, Steph Ryan should fo­cus on lob­by­ing her fed­eral col­leagues to match Vic­to­ria’s fund­ing,” she said.

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