Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has welcomed renewed calls by Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville for an independent inquiry into the allegations of water theft in the Northern Basin.
Ms Sheed said Southern Basin communities were already experiencing negative socio-economic impacts as a result of the rollout of the Murray Darling Basin Plan and said an independent inquiry was vital to ensure the integrity of the plan.
Ms Neville raised the issue in Parliament on Thursday and called on Deputy Premier and Federal Water Minister Barnaby Joyce to initiate a truly independent inquiry into the allegations and bring forward the next Ministerial Council meeting for water ministers to address the issue.
Ms Sheed said she had also raised the issue with the Federal Government in a letter to the Prime Minister.
“Myself and the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District Water Leadership Forum have been calling for an independent, basin-wide inquiry since the allegations were first aired on the Four Corners program in July,” Ms Sheed said.
“The integrity of governance and government agencies associated with the Murray Darling Basin Plan has been seriously questioned and I have personally written to the Prime Minister, urging him to help restore the confidence of our Southern Basin communities by committing to a proper inquiry.
“As a region we are working so hard to ensure a balance between the needs of the environment and the needs of the community, so it’s encouraging to know that our state water minister is in our corner – especially in the current absence of support from the Federal Government.
“The Goulburn Murray Irrigation District Water Leadership Forum is working overtime at the moment to make sure the views of our region are heard and I thank the Minister for her support of our position.”
Ms Neville’s Minister’s Statement on the Murray Darling Basin Plan can be found at http://hansard.parliament.vic.gov.au
Riahn Smith 0419 138 978│firstname.lastname@example.org