Sport and Recreation Community facilities | March 07, 2016

Labor’s drought solution forgets country Victoria

Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy, is appalled the Andrews Labor Government has publicly admitted their “water security” measures will only help those from Melbourne to Ballarat.

Yesterday Labor announced it has ordered 50 gigalitres of desalinated water from Wonthaggi to be delivered next summer.

Labor’s Minister for Water, Lisa Neville said: “We’re taking action so that kids don’t have to play on rock hard ovals, so gardens and sporting ovals are green and will ensure a secure water supply for schools, hospitals and homes from Melbourne to Ballarat."

“The lack of care for the people of drought ravaged country Victoria is not just a perception, it’s now being openly expressed,” Ms Kealy said.

“It is unacceptable that this city-centric fixation is so ingrained that Labor’s happy to release a public statement which highlights their neglect of the needs of country people.

“I have expressed significant concerns about drought funding not flowing to Western Victoria and that our sporting grounds across the region need support,” she said.

Local sporting clubs are paying up to $12,000 per year for water to maintain grassed areas for children and other community groups to play sport, remain active and engaged in the community.

“Sometimes a school oval is the only patch of grass in an entire town. Labor has refused to provide any financial support for fixed water charges, which would be an appropriate response to help families through this drought,” Ms Kealy said.

“Western Victoria is hurting as the unprecedented dry seasonal conditions and low rainfall continues. We need to ensure that water management is efficient, that losses are minimised and that investment is made for pipeline solutions to drought-proof our local areas.

“Many farmers are carting water for stock and domestic purposes and in some cases are selling stock as a result of no water.

“I certainly will be doing all I can to stand up for the needs of our drought stricken farmers and ensure drought money is delivered to where it is needed most,” she said.

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