The Andrews Labor Government is calling on the Federal Government to better support farmers and irrigators experiencing dry conditions in Victoria by exploring opportunities for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) to trade water into the market.
Minister for Water Lisa Neville has written to Federal Minister David Littleproud urging him to look at ways the CEWH can trade into the market to benefit irrigation communities and farmers.
The Labor Government is taking action to ensure farmers and irrigation communities have the support they need, including:
- Asking the Victorian Environmental Water Holder (VEWH) to explore further trade opportunities that could make more water available for farmers and ease pressure on water prices
- Instructing all Victorian water corporations to put in place their water preparedness policies
- Ensuring the 75GL of Melbourne water entitlements held in the north of the state are kept in the north to support irrigation communities
- Asking the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to consider all available water and how it can be best used
- Asking the Federal Government to deliver the funding for the 605GL worth of environmental offset projects under the Murray Darling Basin Plan that will mean efficient delivery of environmental water
Lack of rain across the state is contributing to dry conditions in northern Victoria, the Wimmera and the Mallee, with drought conditions affecting east Gippsland.
Water restrictions are currently not in place in Victorian towns and allocations for irrigators are in a similar range to this time last year. However, drought conditions in New South Wales are already impacting water market prices in the southern Murray Darling Basin.
Victorian farmers are in a better position to deal with drought due to Labor Government investments in upgrading water infrastructure and irrigation modernisation.
These investments include $40 million to expand the water grid as a part of the South West Loddon Rural Water Supply Project and $30 million to connect four towns in south Gippsland to the state’s water grid as a part of the Lance Creek Pipeline Project.
The Labor Government is further supporting rural agricultural communities by providing a reticulated water supply to communities as a part of pipeline projects in Mitiamo, Macalister and East Grampians.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“We understand that some Victorian farmers and irrigators are doing it tough and conditions are dry – that’s why we’re taking action to give these communities the support that they need.”
“We’ve asked for any available environmental water to be traded to farmers in Victoria and we’d like the Federal Government to do the same.”
“We’re in a better position to deal with drought because of the investments we’ve made in water security through pipelines and modernisation of irrigation districts that save water.”