NORTHERN Victoria’s irrigators and communities must be given more time to provide feedback on the state’s implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, after the Andrews Government botched consultation.
The Northern Victoria Water Resource Plan is a vital plank of the Basin Plan.
Shadow Minister for Water and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said irrigators and communities were missing an opportunity to genuinely have their say, after the Andrews Government failed to give them time to get across the detail of the 1000-page document.
“If the Minister genuinely wants to hear from communities in northern Victoria she will extend the consultation process,” Ms Ryan said.
“People in Mildura, Yea and Bendigo only heard from the Water Minister the day after information sessions were held in their communities – only Labor would believe this is the way to treat regional Victorians.
“It’s the height of arrogance from the Andrews Government to claim they want the community’s input when they haven’t allowed people any time to get across the detail before public consultation was held.”
Ms Ryan said more time must also be given to people in Wangaratta, Shepparton and Kerang where information sessions are scheduled for next week.
“If Ms Neville wants people to have confidence in how the Basin Plan will be implemented, she has no choice but to extend the dates for consultation on the draft plan,” Ms Ryan said.
“This plan spells out, among other things, how much water can be taken from farms, towns and industry, what water is available to the environment and how that water can be used, the rules for ground water change and strategies to manage risks – all are significant issues.
“The least Ms Neville could do is afford irrigators and communities, who have already faced massive change and whose livelihoods depend on the outcome of this document, an opportunity to have their opinions genuinely considered.”
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