Min­is­ter told well has run dry

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

South­ern Rive­rina lead­ers have told Fed­eral Water Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud the Mur­ray Val­ley has noth­ing left to give, and the gov­ern­ment must recog­nise the dis­pro­por­tion­ate im­pact the Mur­rayDar­ling Basin Plan has al­ready had on its com­mu­ni­ties.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Mur­ray Re­gional Strat­egy Group — which in­cludes com­mu­nity, in­dus­try, ir­ri­ga­tion, in­dige­nous, coun­cil and farm­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions — met with Mr Lit­tleproud in De­niliquin last Thursday to de­liver a united mes­sage from the re­gion.

Mur­ray Val­ley Pri­vate Divert­ers chair An­drew Hicks, who was a mem­ber of the del­e­ga­tion, said the group was frank with the min­is­ter.

‘‘We made it very clear that the Mur­ray Val­ley is at tip­ping point,’’ Mr Hicks said.

‘‘The south­ern basin has con­trib­uted 82 per cent of the water re­cov­ered un­der the basin plan, and this does not fac­tor in the con­tri­bu­tions to the en­vi­ron­ment by the val­ley pre-basin plan.’’

He said the group gave ex­am­ples of why the Mur­ray Val­ley could not with­stand fur­ther pol­icy-driven neg­a­tive im­pacts, many of which were avoid­able.

‘‘A number of lead­ers de­scribed the con­se­quences al­ready be­ing felt by the re­gion and John Loli­cato of the Wakool River As­so­ci­a­tion left the min­is­ter in no doubt that the NSW Mur­ray does not sup­port fur­ther re­cov­ery of water en­ti­tle­ments un­der the 450 Gl.

‘‘In­stead, we urged the gov­ern­ment to fo­cus on 2750 Gl.’’

The del­e­ga­tion also called for a recog­ni­tion by gov­ern­ment of the dis­pro­por­tion­ate so­cio-eco­nomic im­pacts to the Mur­ray Val­ley and an adap­tive and flex­i­ble ap­proach to fur­ther im­ple­men­ta­tion of the plan for the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of the en­tire basin.

‘‘We also called for the MDBA (Mur­rayDar­ling Basin Au­thor­ity) to be pro­vided with the flex­i­bil­ity and leg­isla­tive ca­pac­ity to call for im­prove­ments to the basin plan and an ex­ten­sion of the Water Re­source Plans’ time­frames to ac­com­mo­date the dis­pro­por­tion­ate scale of NSW re­quire­ments,’’ Mr Hicks said.

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