Speak Up welcomes new Labor spokeswoman

New Federal Opposition Water spokeswoman a welcome change: Speak Up

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CHANGE WELCOMED: Speak Up Campaign chair Shelley Scoullar says the appointment of a new Federal Opposition Water spokesperson will be a welcome change from Tony Burke.

CHANGE WELCOMED: Speak Up Campaign chair Shelley Scoullar says the appointment of a new Federal Opposition Water spokesperson will be a welcome change from Tony Burke.

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Speak Up hopes for a fresh approach to Federal Opposition water policy.

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A Deniliquin, NSW, community-based irrigation lobby group has welcomed the Federal Opposition's decison to change its water spokesperson.

Griffith, Qld, MP Terri Butler, is to take the role of Opposition Environment and Water spokeswoman.

Speak Up Campaign chair Shelley Scoullar said it was a welcome change from former Environment spokesman, Tony Burke, who had lost the confidence of regional communities.

Mr Burke was Water Minister when the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was legislated and he had found it difficult to acknowledge the plan's failures.

Mrs Scoullar said she hoped Ms Butler would bring a fresh approach to policy and gain an appreciation that good water policy and protecting the environment could go hand in hand.

"They do not have to be in competition, which appears to be the way Labor has approached water in the past," Mrs Scoullar said.

"We need an appropriate balance that protects the environment and our communities, and that is something Mr Burke has struggled with during his term as Water Minister, and later its spokesperson."

Mrs Scoullar said Speak Up would welcome a visit to the Southern Basin by Ms Butler, so she could get a first-hand account of why the opposition needed to change its approach to water policy.

"In the past, it has encouraged buy-backs, which are detrimental to communities," she said.

"It also intended to scrap the social and economic testing, developed by Federal and State Water Ministers to help protect our towns and jobs.

"We are hoping Ms Butler will see that Labor's approach before the election caused considerable concern to our communities, for good reason.

"We believe it is time Labor acknowledged the damage which has been caused by the Basin Plan - after all, it was the party which promised our communities would be protected - and works towards balance and solutions."

She said to achieve security and prosperity, food and fibre producers needed water.

"Pouring it down the river and causing unnatural flooding and waste along the way was bad policy and totally defied common-sense," Mrs Scoullar said.

"We would welcome the opportunity to show Ms Butler around our region and talk to her about ways which can protect the environment, and at the same time give food and fibre producers, and the communities which rely on them, a fair go."

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