Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville has today reassured irrigators in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District that the Victorian Government remains focused on ensuring the Connections Project is delivered in an appropriate way.
Recent calls by Sharman Stone to cease the project claiming ‘no more cheques should come into the region’ are incredibly concerning.
This project is vital to this community, in particular the viability of agricultural and manufacturing business in region.
These comments are not only damaging to irrigators in the region but also to the future of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, which enters a critical year.
Dr Stone’s comments are surprising as it was only last year the Commonwealth and Victorian Government announced they would work together to reset the second stage of the most significant irrigation infrastructure upgrade in Victorian history.
If we were to suddenly halt and cease investment in this region as suggested, it would have a massive impact on the local economy.
Since November, the mid-term review has been completed and consultations have taken place with 200 irrigators in the region. We understand that to get this right we need local knowledge and expertise so we can deliver the water use efficiencies the project was set up to achieve.
The Government will receive the consultation report within the coming month but has already heard that almost every irrigator present supported the reset of the project as it underpins the viability and economy of the region for generations to come.
Once the consultation report is received, the Andrews Labor Government will work with Commonwealth on the joint directions statement which will be released in March 2016
Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville
“When I was in Shepparton, I heard first-hand the value of the Connections Project and the many ways that the local community thought we could improve on what we have”
“Dr Stone’s comments over the last day are incredibly concerning as we need to get the Connections Project right for the region – and to do that we need to work together.”
“I hope Dr Stone doesn’t know something we don’t and both Minister Joyce and the Commonwealth remain committed to the project.”
“We are committed to working on a joint directions statement with the Commonwealth to ensure the future of Connections.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020