The Andrews Labor Government’s decision to intervene in the rapid growth of new permanent plantings in the lower Murray region is long overdue, but will have no impact if the Minister fails to convince South Australia and New South Wales to do the same.
The Andrews Government announced today all applications for water extraction licences in the lower Murray region will be referred to the Minister for the next 12 months.
But Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan said Victoria’s efforts would amount to zip without similar moves from SA and NSW.
“We’ve been calling for action on this for months, but it’s essential that South Australia and New South Wales also participate,” Ms Ryan said.
“Despite years of warnings from industry and communities, the Andrews Labor Government has been unwilling to intervene to control the explosion of irrigation development in the lower Murray.
“The gap between the water available in dry years and what the horticulture industry demands is shrinking, putting the pressure on other industries at times when resources are scarce. These impacts will only be compounded by the effects of climate change.
“It’s now up to the Andrews Labor Government to step up and convince South Australia and New South Wales to also take control of irrigation development in the lower Murray.
“Without agreement, the Minister’s efforts will be nothing more than a token gesture and the situation will only worsen for Victorian irrigators.”