Independent Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed has welcomed the announcement of the Federal Government’s intention to create the role of Inspector-General to oversee the Murray Darling Basin Authority
However, Ms Sheed questioned why the role will not hold any legislated powers until 2020.
“Recognition of the need to create such a role demonstrates that critics of the Murray Darling Basin Plan have been justified in our advocacy," Ms Sheed said.
"Our farmers and the environment are suffering now. Dairy farmers in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District are losing their farms now. The Goulburn River and Barmah Choke are being damaged now.
"Next year is a year too late. At the very least, we need a tough cop on the beat to investigate and enforce the rules when it has become obvious that many, especially in the Northern Basin, have been at the very least flouting the rules and at the worst potentially engaging in fraudulent conduct as seen through recent prosecutions,” Ms Sheed said.
“I call on the Federal Water Minister David Littleproud and his state counterparts to move quickly and legislate the powers required by the position of Inspector General so that he can hit the ground running.
“With expressions of interest now out for the recovery of the 450 GL of up water through efficiency measures it is more important than ever that there is oversight of this process to ensure that the recovery only occur where there are no negative socio-economic impacts."
The new position will see former AFP Commissioner and Northern Basin Inspector-General Michael Keelty AO APM appointed to the role following the unanimous agreement of state and territory ministers at the recent meeting of water ministers.
"We will be inviting Mr Keelty to visit our region at the earliest opportunity so he can see for himself the negative impact the Plan is having on our farms, our rivers and our community. I am hopeful that his previous roles have equipped him to take a clear and tough approach across the whole of the basin and to ensure that no more water is removed by stealth."
Myles Peterson 0467 035 840│email@example.com