Deep concerns remain for Southern Basin communities after Victorian Minister for Water, Harriet Shing dodged questions at a Public Accounts and Estimates Committee Hearing.
The Minister has failed to say whether she has directly told the Federal Water Minister to cease buybacks and protect Southern Basin communities after the Murray Darling Basin Plan expires in June next year.
Amid direct questioning, all Minister Shing could do was veer into a general response.
The Andrews Labor Government must tell its Labor counterparts in Canberra to stop looking at easy options like buybacks and instead do the heavy lifting to ensure regional communities in Northern Victoria are not subject to painful buybacks.
Shadow Minister for Water, Tim McCurdy, said Victorian Labor must not allow Tanya Plibersek, the Federal Minister for Environment and Water, to take water out of our communities.
“Federal Labor’s latest move is to call for ideas from the community on where water savings can be found. Tanya Plibersek only needs to look at the 20 to 30 potential water-saving projects that have been suggested going back to 2012 if they need water-saving ideas.
“Water is the lifeblood of countless communities within the basin and contributes enormous benefits to the local communities as well as the Victorian economy.
“Our farmers and regional communities cannot afford for buybacks to happen again; it will be simply devastating.
“At the upcoming ministerial water meetings Victoria must say no to buybacks.”