Shepparton News - Country News

Greed and opportunis­m threaten basin plan

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Federal Water Water Minister Keith Pitt has announced the government would allocate $1.3 billion from the Water for the Environmen­t Special Account to fund off-farm water efficiency upgrades.

The Federal Department of Agricultur­e, Water and the Environmen­t, off-farm water infrastruc­ture update includes a list of 34 proposals which have little to do with water savings for the environmen­t and appears more to do with shoring up the Nationals’ support for next year’s election.

Those projects actually saving water will be some of the most expensive water sourced by the Coalition Government, although taxpayers will probably never know the true cost, as business plans if developed, are rarely made public.

There is no prospect of delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan’s agreed volumes of water for Murray-Darling river system prior to the 2024 deadline, and point of reconcilia­tion of water secured as legislated in Water Act 2007.

Our rivers have been severely impacted by over-allocation for irrigation.

The only way of turning this decline around is by clawing back this over-allocation; the basin plan does this, however the plan is itself under threat by greed and political opportunis­m.

This announceme­nt by Minister Pitt is an admission the Federal Government has all but given up on the plan and is pushing the problem onto a future government in 2024.

— John Pettigrew Bunbartha

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