Media Releases | 18th Nov, 2002

Bracks’ Water Trust: looks good, but will it deliver on river health?

Tuesday, 19 November 2002

Environment groups today welcomed Premier Bracks’ announcement of a $320 million Victorian Water Trust as a solid step towards healthy rivers, despite lacking in clarity on some crucial issues.

ACF Land & Water Co-ordinator Tim Fisher said, “This looks like a solid initiative – there is an urgent need to improve water efficiency statewide and reduce the demands we place on our rivers and wetlands. We are nevertheless seeking reassurance on the aims, priorities, and operation of the Trust.

“Rivers are natural assets that are well worth protecting. Industries such as tourism, water supplies, fishing, boating and holiday real estate all depend on healthy rivers, lakes and estuaries.

“The concerns that we do hold about the Victorian Water Trust centre around the lack of clarity on some key points.”

Clarity is sought on the following issues.

  • What will be its terms of reference for the Victorian Water Trust?
  • Will water savings be retained in public ownership to enhance river health, or will these savings be used for new irrigation or industrial developments?
  • How will the Trust’s priorities be determined?

Environment Victoria’s Healthy Rivers Campaign Director Paul Sinclair said, “Whether in urban or rural settings, our impact on the environment can be substantially reduced if we get more efficient in our use of water.

“Most of Victoria’s rivers are very stressed through over-allocation of water to irrigated agriculture and urban demand. We need to get the balance right by returning water to our rivers.”