Lisa Neville has had laws proposing tougher penalties for water theft in Victoria sitting on her desk for three years.
The Water Minister has flagged she is now belatedly drafting a stricter compliance regime, in light of the Murray Darling Basin Authority’s compliance review, despite having had the solution since she came to government.
The former Liberal Nationals government undertook a complete rewrite of Victoria’s Water Act which proposed tougher penalties for non-compliance in Victoria, including introducing remedial action notices and broader infringement notices.
Lisa Neville’s partisan and short sighted decision to shelve that work has led to the reputation of Victorian irrigators being unfairly tarnished.
The compliance review, released over the weekend, noted Victoria’s strong culture of compliance but says the state lacks ‘a full suite of penalties and sanctions’ against water theft.
There’s no reason for Lisa Neville to go back to the drawing board. Victorian irrigators will see change far sooner if Labor implements the tougher penalties proposed in the Liberal Nationals’ Water Bill 2014.