Labor must not make irrigators wait for water

Water Minister Lisa Neville is hanging on to 75GL of irrigation entitlement that could be used to relieve the pressure on irrigators in northern Victoria.

The 75GL irrigation entitlement is owned by Melbourne water corporations and held to top up Melbourne storages in times of extreme drought.

But despite announcing on December 1 that Melbourne’s water supplies are “in a good position” the Minister has failed to act immediately to bring forward the release of this water to northern Victorian irrigators.

This water cannot be used by Melbourne’s water corporations unless Melbourne’s total system storage level is less than 30 per cent on the day before December 1. On November 30, Melbourne’s water storages were more than twice this number at 63.8 per cent.

Last water season it took until March for Lisa Neville to deliver this water to irrigators. At a time when people are being forced to pay more than $1000/ML for allocation water in northern Victoria, the Minister’s inaction simply isn’t good enough.

Lisa Neville must act to get this water on the market as soon as possible.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Water Steph Ryan

It’s outrageous that Lisa Neville is sitting on water when farmers in northern Victoria are desperate and it clearly is not needed in Melbourne.

Lisa Neville should have put this water onto the market in northern Victoria months ago, when it was clear there was no way Melbourne’s storages would be below 30 per cent at the end of November.

In March this year the Minister said she had “required 75GL owned by Melbourne water corporations to remain in northern Victoria”.

If Lisa Neville has control of this water as she claims, then it’s high time it was put on the market to ease temporary water prices in the Murray and Goulburn systems to relieve the pressure on our irrigators.

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