MEMBER for Farrer Sussan Ley has promised the electorate policy on water distribution was her focus in the months ahead.
In December the Ministerial Council made the welcome decision to ensure 450 gigalitres of additional water from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan does not further harm irrigation areas in Farrer.
This year a review of the existing environmental watering strategy is another critical step to ensure the plan can become “workable”.
“Our message is very clear,” Ms Ley said. “The plan is meant to be about government working with the people, to make sure the river system and our irrigation communities are viable and sustainable over the long-term.
“What is needed is stronger, more meaningful engagement with communities, with a focus on what the plan should look like, and to reflect on how it might be changed to improve local impacts.”
Ms Ley has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison requesting a social and economic assessment of the state of the southern basin.
“(This is) so we can make our case to all governments that ongoing low general security allocations are a brutal and unintended consequence of the Basin Plan,” she said.
“We desperately need an audit of the use of environmental water; one which is subject to an independent assessment by the Commonwealth Auditor General.
“Disturbing evidence this week of fish stock deaths in a number of areas of my electorate again demonstrates the complete lack of flexibility in allocating this water where and when it is needed.
“A change to rules on how water is managed within and between valleys, above and below the Barmah Choke, and between the environment and operational use is also required.”
While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox every Friday at 6am from The Irrigator. To make sure you’re up to date with all news in Leeton sign up here.