Up-water on meeting agenda

November 14, 2017

Much debate . . . State Member for Northern Victoria Luke O’Sullivan says the basin plan’s up-water is a hot topic.

The 450Gl of up-water that is being debated as part of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was a standout issue at an Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee meeting in Shepparton last month.

Committee member and State Member for Northern Victoria Luke O’Sullivan said the up-water was a hot topic.

‘‘We had a good chat with local groups, catchment management authorities and G-MW and environment groups,’’ Mr O’Sullivan said.

‘‘The standout was the 450Gl of up-water and the impacts on production and jobs in the Shepparton district (if the water is moved from the region).

‘‘It was interesting to hear G-MW say if the water was moved from the district, it would make the district unviable.’’

Explaining what he meant by this after the committee met, G-MW’s water resources head Mark Bailey said removing the water from the region would change the way his company operated.

‘‘This is because we draw the majority of our revenue from managing water on behalf of irrigators,’’ Dr Bailey said.

‘‘If there was substantially less water and less irrigation, G-MW’s business model would not be sustainable in its current form.’’

Mr O’Sullivan said the reason for holding these meetings was to get a better idea of how to manage environmental water.

‘‘As part of this inquiry, we are talking with a range of groups in northern Victoria to hear from those on the ground to see if there are better ways for environmental water to be managed,’’ the Nationals MP said.

‘‘Trying to establish the right balance — the balance between the environment, irrigators and local communities — is important or it could have dire consequences,’’ he said.

‘‘The general feeling so far is trying to get the balance right to make the system better.

‘‘It only needs tinkerings, especially around blackwater. We don’t want to see yellowbelly and cod die because of blackwater events.’’

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