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Water Act changes first step towards fairer Basin Plan

Leader of The Nationals and Coalition Shadow Minister for Water Peter Walsh has welcomed the passing of amendments to the Commonwealth Water Act.

“On behalf of Victorian irrigators who called for these amendments, I extend our thanks to Barnaby Joyce for getting this important Bill dealt with before the Federal election,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Amendment gives the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder much greater flexibility for spending the proceeds gained from water sales.

“Under the old law, if the CEWH sold water to the temporary market, it had to use the proceeds of that sale to purchase water back at a future date.

“That restrictive condition is gone now, and the CEWH will be able to make smarter use of these funds. For example, it could invest in engineering works like the systems we have in Gunbower Forest or Hattah Lakes that deliver positive environmental outcomes while using water much more efficiently.

“This alteration was a key part of the submission I made to the Senate’s Basin Plan enquiry last year. Minister Joyce committed to us that he would fix it before the election and he has delivered on the promise.

“The Water Act amendment is a good first step to ensuring better outcomes for irrigators but The Nationals will continue the fight for a fairer Basin Plan that protects our irrigators, rural industries and communities.”