News | 12th Jan, 2010

State, Canberra at odds on water priority

Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Peter Ker, The Age

Victoria's Goulburn and Murray districts have been identified as ''high priority'' regions for returning water to the environment, just weeks before the north-south pipeline takes water away from those areas to Melbourne.

Farmers in the districts, along with those in the Campaspe, Kiewa and Loddon regions, were nominated by the Federal Government as the latest focus of the $3.1 billion buyback of irrigation water for the Murray-Darling river system.

The Government opened the new round of buybacks yesterday, as part of Canberra's staggered outlay on returning flows and environmental health to the river system.

On releasing the tender, Canberra discouraged farmers in other Victorian districts – including the Ovens, Wimmera-Mallee, Broken and Avoca – from applying, because it wants water from specific ''high priority'' regions, such as the Goulburn and Murray.

Get the full story