Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan has slammed the release of a report recommending more water recovery for Basin communities, while a critical socio-economic impact review of the Basin Plan remains incomplete.
The Ernst and Young report, signed off by Basin Ministers, including Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville, and released last week, identified projects to recover up to an extra 450GL of water from southern Basin communities.
“This report does not take into account the study being undertaken by the Murray Darling Basin Authority which was supposed to be completed by the end of 2017,” Ms Ryan said.
“The MDBA has failed to complete its socio-economic study within the promised timeframe.
“That report was supposed to give a more detailed picture of the impacts of water recovery in northern Victorian communities.”
Ms Ryan said the MDBA had blamed the delay on the need to wait for the Australian Bureau of Statistics to finalise census data.
“The Murray Darling Basin Authority had previously given a commitment that they would release components of the socio-economic report when they were finished, without waiting for the final census data,” Ms Ryan said.
“The Basin Plan is clear that extra water cannot be recovered if it has detrimental economic or social impacts. This shouldn’t even be a discussion until the MDBA provides that information.
“Those of us who live in northern Victoria can see how the loss of water has affected farms, towns and employment and the MDBA should be providing the data that explains those impacts.”
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