A new campaign aims to put maximum pressure on the Andrews Labor Government to refer the expansion of Lake Buffalo to the Federal Government for investigation.

Shadow Minister for Water and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan, Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh and Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy were at Lake Buffalo last week to launch the campaign.

Ms Ryan said expansion of Lake Buffalo could be a game-changer for Victoria.

“We should examine building Big Buffalo to make water supplies in northern Victoria more reliable,” Ms Ryan said.

“It’s also an opportunity to save up to 130GL of evaporative losses by reducing the system’s reliance on Lake Victoria in south west NSW.

“We have an ideal opportunity to refer this project to the Federal Government’s new National Water Grid Authority for investigation, but Victorian Labor has flatly refused.

“The petition we’ve launched today calls on the Andrews Government to urgently reverse its short-sighted refusal and I encourage irrigators and communities to add their voice to the call.”

Lake Buffalo has reached 100 per cent capacity every year since 2003. Big Buffalo would investigate increasing the existing dam capacity of 23,900ML – just six per cent of the mean annual flow of the Buffalo River – and connecting it to Lake Nillahcootie via a pipeline.

Mr Walsh said the water that has spilt at Lake Buffalo could be bolstering allocations this year and putting downward pressure on temporary water prices.

“Climate experts are predicting we will see more intense rainfall events and longer periods of drought and we need to capture that rain when it falls to guard our communities against climate change,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Andrews Labor Government can’t continue to sit on its hands while irrigators in northern Victoria face a crisis due to a lack of available water.”

Mr McCurdy said the expansion would be a boon for tourism in the region, as well as providing greater flood mitigation for towns like Myrtleford and Wangaratta.

“Big Buffalo has been on the cards for a long time in north east Victoria. We believe there is an opportunity, while the Federal Government is looking for big, nation-shaping projects, to see whether it can stack up,” Mr McCurdy said.

“By signing the petition, you’re adding your voice to the growing pressure on the Andrews Government to get behind this transformational project.”

Sign the petition at www.buildbigbuffalo.com.au

 

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