Sheed calls water summit

Sheed calls water summit


Shepparton MP calls water summit to lobby governments.

Shepparton Independent MP Suzanna Sheed will convene a Southern Basin Water Summit, next month, to lobby governments to take immediate action to mitigate what she said was the damage facing irrigation communities.


Ms Sheed said she had called the summit, on November 10, because governments were forging ahead without any regard for the welfare of the regions. 

“There is now ample evidence from reputable reports commissioned over the last 18 months which show the serious impacts on our farming towns and communities throughout the southern basin,” Ms Sheed said.

The Tatura summit would be hosted by the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) Water Leadership Forum, which Ms Sheed co-chairs, and the Committee for Greater Shepparton.

WATER SUMMIT: Shepparton Independent MP Suzanna Sheed has convened a Tatura summit, to address concerns over the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

WATER SUMMIT: Shepparton Independent MP Suzanna Sheed has convened a Tatura summit, to address concerns over the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

Ms Sheed said Water ministers from the Basin states were due to meet at the end of the month, to sign off on 605 gigalitres (GL) of environmental offset projects.

They were also expected to finalise a process for recovering an additional 450GL from the consumptive pool.

Ms Sheed said it could be disastrous for communities if these decisions are made without all the information on the table.

It was vital that affected communities join together to voice their concerns before it was too late.

“Our communities are hurting and no one is listening,” Ms Sheed said.

“There are five inquiries underway into the Murray Darling Basin Plan and faith in the system is at an all-time low, yet our governments are forging ahead without any regard for the welfare of the regions,” Ms Sheed said.

“They are pursuing an entirely inadequate, piece-meal approach to the situation while at the same time preparing to make crucial decisions on environmental offset projects and how to recover even more water despite the evidence of significant negative socio-economic impacts across our irrigation communities.

“Once they make those decisions, the final stages of the Plan will be locked into a trajectory that will further devastate our communities and we cannot let that happen.”

The summit would look at several key issues, including:

-        an overview of the environmental gains;

-        a review of the completed socio-economic studies and their relationship to the recovery of the additional 450GL;

-        the failure of the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to effectively monitor the Plan and ensure compliance.

Water minister Lisa Neville said it was important that local communities continued to have their say and express their views on the plan. 

"This summit provides an additional forum for the community to come together for updates and to develop positions to feed into the next Ministerial Council,” Ms Neville said.  

"It's also an important opportunity to continue to pressure the Federal Government on calling for an independent inquiry into the 4 Corners allegations and the role of New South Wales and the MDBA to ensure that the review into socio-economic impacts is robust. 

"I look forward to discussing the outcomes with Suzanna Sheed." 

A spokeswoman for the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) said it met with the GMID leadership group, many times a year to discuss Basin Plan implementation.

“We welcome all community interest and involvement in Basin Plan implementation and operation,” she said.

An MDBA representative would attend the November summit.

The spokeswoman said MDBA recently released a draft determination of the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism that found 605 gigalitres (GL) of water could remain in consumptive use, while still achieving the environmental outcomes the Basin Plan aims to achieve.

“Subject to existing water recovery contracts being delivered and the implementation of the SDL Adjustment Mechanism efficiency component, this will mean no further water recovery in the southern Basin,” the spokeswoman said.

“This is a good result for communities and the environment and, if supported, will give all water users – irrigators and the environment – certainty for the future.”


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