Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed welcomed this week’s announcement from Minister for Water Lisa Neville seeking to protect Victorian waterways by limiting high river flows resulting from inter valley transfers.
“Community members have contacted me on many occasions about this issue. They have sent videos of riverbank damage captured from boats on the river. This evidence clearly showed the significant damage caused by slumping banks, large trees falling into the river and the failure of riverbank reeds and grasses to grow,” Ms Sheed said.
While it is widely acknowledged that this damage has been occurring for some time, both on the Goulburn River and in the Barmah Choke, Minister Neville is to be commended for her recent visit to see the damage for herself ahead of yesterday’s announcement, according to Ms Sheed.
“The key actions that the government announced yesterday are welcome, as was Minister Neville’s earlier announcement to call in further applications for water licenses below the choke while the issue of deliverability is being investigated”, she said.
The Victorian Government announced changes to tagged accounts to make sure that the same rules apply to all water users. This comes on the back of high volumes of tagged water moving from the Goulburn to the Murray outside the limits of the inter valley transfer trade rules.
Following an initial review of the current trading rules it was found that they were not protecting the environment of the lower Goulburn River and that they did not provide a level playing field for all water users to trade water.
“Deliverability is becoming a critical issue and I am pleased by the fact that both Victoria and New South Wales agreed at the recent Ministerial Council meeting of Water Ministers that they will go it alone to investigate this issue more broadly,” Ms Sheed said.
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