Minister tries to ease basin plan concerns
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.