Victoria Minister for Water Peter Walsh
Victoria Rejects Draft Basin Plan
Victor P Taffa
The social and economic impacts of the proposed Murray Darling Basin Plan are too costly for Victoria, Water Minister Peter Walsh said today.
Releasing the Victorian Coalition Government’s submission to the draft plan, Mr. Walsh warned the Gillard Government against taking more water from Victoria.
“This debate is not just academic it’s about real communities and real people fighting for their very survival.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Further cuts to consumptive water will reduce employment, put pressure on families to seek off-farm income, place downward pressure on house and land values and increase welfare dependency.”
“The impacts of these cuts will not just be confined to agriculture but will also affect larger communities like Swan Hill, Kyabram, Rochester and Tatura.”
“As agriculture declines, towns lose their critical mass and the provision of essential services including education, social services and health care will be threatened.”
Mr. Walsh said under the proposed Basin Plan, water available for consumptive use would be reduced by 2,750 Gl.
“Our modelling shows northern Victoria’s dairy industry would decline by 12 % or $54 Million. Grape production would fall by 11 % or 38 Million and mixed grazing would take a hit of 31 % or $38 Million.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Victorian communities have already done their share of the heavy lifting. Between the contributions they have made since 2000 and the water being returned under current agreements, northern Victorian irrigators have already given up 1,040 Gl.
“Instead of clawing back more water, the Gillard Government should fund environmental works and measures to make effective use of the water they already have.” Mr. Walsh said.