Feed­back ex­tended

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

Ir­ri­ga­tors will have more time to have their say on the de­liv­ery share re­view, with the feed­back pe­riod ex­tended un­til the end of the month.

Yet not ev­ery­one is happy with the ex­ten­sion, with Vic­to­rian Shadow Wa­ter Min­is­ter Steph Ryan say­ing there is still not enough time for farm­ers to con­sider long-sought-after pric­ing in­for­ma­tion.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the break­down of costs re­lat­ing to the in­fra­struc­ture ac­cess fee ap­plied by Goul­burn-Mur­ray Wa­ter was up­loaded to the re­view’s web­page last week.

‘‘La­bor has long known about the pres­sure in­fra­struc­ture ac­cess fees are putting on our ir­ri­ga­tors who have been calling for a break­down of th­ese fees,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘(Vic­to­rian Wa­ter Min­is­ter) Lisa Neville has de­layed the re­lease of this pric­ing in­for­ma­tion and is now putting pres­sure on to assess it, even though it doesn’t pro­vide the de­tail for which ir­ri­ga­tors have asked.’’

Feed­back to the de­liv­ery share re­view, which out­lines a suite of po­ten­tial changes to the sys­tem, was orig­i­nally set to be due by Au­gust 20.

VFF wa­ter coun­cil chair Richard An­der­son wel­comed the ex­ten­sion un­til Au­gust 31, say­ing he had pre­vi­ously voiced con­cerns the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod was too brief.

Yet he said, given the newly pub­lish­ing pric­ing in­for­ma­tion, the govern­ment shouldn’t rush to any de­fin­i­tive re­sults, in­sist­ing there was still plenty of work to be done re­gard­ing ex­am­in­ing pric­ing and fees.

With a state elec­tion set to take place in Novem­ber, Mr An­der­son cau­tioned the par­ties against any plans they may have to put the re­view back on the shelf.

‘‘If you get in (at the elec­tion) you need to fin­ish the job prop­erly this time,’’ he said.

‘‘Be­cause (ir­ri­ga­tors) are run­ning out out of pa­tience . . . they’ve just about had enough.’’

Ms Ryan said the Coali­tion in­tended to hold a full re­view of the charges of northern Vic­to­ria’s ru­ral wa­ter au­thor­i­ties to en­sure eq­ui­table wa­ter stor­age and Fees us­age . . . New data has re­vealed where funds from 2017-18 in­fra­struc­ture ac­cess fees in Cen­tral Goul­burn, Rochester, Lod­don Val­ley, Mur­ray Val­ley and Tor­rum­barry dis­tricts go. Source: Goul­burn Mur­ray Wa­ter and DEWLP de­liv­ery costs if it won the elec­tion.

Fol­low­ing com­mu­nity fo­rums in the Goul­burnMur­ray and Sun­raysia ir­ri­ga­tion dis­tricts, the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning has re­ceived more than 50 sub­mis­sions.

Ms Neville urged ir­ri­ga­tors to have a say on the pro­posed changes which in­clude 16 op­tions which have been shortlisted for rec­om­men­da­tion or fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit en­gage.vic.gov.au/de­liv­eryshare-re­view Re­view of De­liv­ery Share in Northern Vic­to­ria can be made via email at wa­ter@delwp.vic.gov.au

vic.gov.au/de­liv­eryshare-re­view Sub­mis­sions can also be mailed to: De­liv­ery Share Re­view, Level 12, 8 Ni­chol­son St, East Mel­bourne 3002.

An ex­tended drought would have a ‘‘sig­nif­i­cant’’ ef­fect on the econ­omy and food prices, says Re­serve Bank gov­er­nor Philip Lowe.

Farm­ers are bat­tling drought, with the worstaf­fected ar­eas in northern Vic­to­ria, south­ern Queens­land and all of NSW.

A new re­port by Com­mon­wealth Bank has put the po­ten­tial cost at $12 bil­lion and warned of food price hikes.

Dr Lowe told a par­lia­men­tary hear­ing ear­lier this month the drought was so sig­nif­i­cant the RBA board had looked at rain­fall charts at its last meet­ing, which it had not done for some time.

Asked about the out­look, Dr Lowe said it de­pended ‘‘very much on the sce­nario you paint for rain­fall’’.

‘‘If things re­turn to nor­mal fairly soon we could ex­pect a re­bound, but if it goes on like it did in the drought at the turn of the cen­tury then the ef­fects on the econ­omy are sig­nif­i­cant.’’

He said in 2002-03 farm out­put fell about 25 per cent, knock­ing a full per­cent­age point off Aus­tralia’s growth and lead­ing to many ru­ral work­ers los­ing their jobs.

As well, food prices rose by 4.5 per cent, be­cause slaugh­ter rates in­crease as droughts bite.

‘‘The cur­rent drought is not as se­ri­ous as that one and we all cer­tainly hope it won’t be,’’ Dr Lowe said.

In the short term, ru­ral ex­ports could rise as meat pro­duc­tion in­creases, but at risk is an agri­cul­tural sec­tor which ac­counts for up to 15 per cent of to­tal ex­ports.

The Com­mon­wealth Bank re­port found the cur­rent drought had the po­ten­tial to cut GDP growth by be­tween 0.5 per cent and 0.75 per cent of GDP or be­tween $8 bil­lion and $12.5 bil­lion.

Chief econ­o­mist Michael Blythe said while drought may ‘‘take the edge’’ off to­tal growth, the Aus­tralian econ­omy was still likely to show a good re­sult over­all.

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