Environment and Water | October 08, 2015

Labor’s failed water policy

Dear Editor,

Water Minister Lisa Neville has caused a splash with recent news reports talking of how water from Labor’s desalination plant at Wonthaggi could relieve the parched lands of Victoria’s farmers, including here in the Wimmera.

It is astonishing that such a proposal would even be raised as a concept, as there simply is no pipeline that can deliver water from Wonthaggi to Western Victoria.

The Minister has had to hastily back up and clarify that she doesn’t want to truck desalinated water hundreds of kilometres across the state.

The Labor Government is desperate to start the Bracks desalination plant, a project that ran late and well over budget due to sweetheart deals with their union mates. This white elephant has since cost taxpayers $1.8m each and every day – with not one drop of water to show for it.

The desalination plant cannot help the food producers of western Victoria, and it is deeply concerning that any Water Minister would be associated with such a ridiculous proposal.

Through her comments, the Minister confirmed her Government is doing something equally ridiculous: resurrecting Labor’s old failed water policy.

This is the water policy which caused household water bills to skyrocket by building a desalination plant that was too big, too expensive and too far away from intended customers.

This is also the same failed Labor water policy which saw Labor waste $750 million of taxpayer dollars to build the north-south pipeline, in an outrageous bid to rob irrigation water from northern Victoria.

The Minister has also commented on the drying Glenelg River. Earlier this year she was party to the transfer of 5,000ML into the system’s dried out secondary storage Toolondo Reservoir.

Farmers downstream on the Glenelg River would love to have this quantity of water available right now to boost a system under stress after a dry winter. Instead this water appears lost to evaporation thanks to the Water Minister’s transfer to Toolondo.

There is an old saying that water and oil don’t mix. It seems Labor Government and water don’t mix either.

Emma Kealy

The Nationals Member for Lowan

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