Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has called on the Victorian Government to vigorously investigate claims made by Professor Peter Gell that the South Australian Lower Lakes were not fresh water but estuarine prior to human intervention.
“What now appears to be the case is that the whole of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was based on incorrect science provided by South Australia,” Ms Sheed said.
“What is clear is that Federal Water Minister David Littleproud will do nothing to investigate this issue. So far as he is concerned the Plan has to be delivered in full and on time. While he is busy looking after his constituents in the Northern Basin he will not consider any action to relieve the enormous stress being felt by farmers in the Southern Basin. It is now up to the Victorian Government to urgently investigate the issues raised by Prof Gell,” Ms Sheed said.
“If Prof Gell’s proposition is found to be correct then the target of 2750 GL to be recovered should be reset so that water is returned to our farmers in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.”
The call comes on the back of a response by the Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville to a parliamentary question posed by the Member for Shepparton.
Last month, Ms Sheed asked what measures the Victorian Government was taking to examine the validity of Prof Gell’s claims.
Minister Neville said she had taken the claims to her federal counter-part.
“My office has raised this issue with Minister Littleproud’s office and we are already calling on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to examine issues of deliverability, and within that context, the MDBA should look at the issue of the Lower Lakes,” Minister Neville said.
Ms Sheed said she was sceptical the MDBA or the Federal Minister would provide an adequate response.
“People in my community have no confidence in the MDBA or Minister Littleproud on this issue and it is important that the Victorian Government step in and do the work required,” she said.
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