Media Releases | 15th Nov, 2011

Pipeline decision breaks promise to return water to environment

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Today the state’s leading environment group, Environment Victoria, condemned the Baillieu Government for its decision to make water from the north-south pipeline available for sale, most likely to irrigators, not returned to the environment as promised in the Coalition’s Water Policy ahead of the election.

Before the 2010 Victorian election, the Liberal National Coalition’s Water policy promised to “wind-back use of the north-south pipeline, returning environmental water the Labor Government intends to pump to Melbourne to stressed river systems”[1]

Today Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said:

“Before the election, the Coalition promised to re-allocate the north-south pipeline water to provide environmental flows to stressed rivers like the Goulburn and Campaspe and to contribute to national efforts to return water to the Murray River. Now after winning government, the Baillieu Government has broken that promise”.

“This is a huge amount of reliable water that could drastically improve the health of rivers like the Goulburn and Murray and our Red Gum wetlands, and provide regional benefits to businesses and communities that rely on healthy rivers.

“This decision follows efforts by the Baillieu Government to delay and dilute the national plan to return the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin to health.  Sadly, the Baillieu Government appears more committed to corporate irrigators than it does to returning water to the rivers upon which those irrigators depend.

“The Coalition made very few good environmental promises prior to the election and it’s extremely disappointing that they are now breaking one of the few positive commitments they did make.

“There’s no doubt that this has been a terrible first year in office for the Baillieu Government in terms of environment protection.  They’ve gone backwards on climate policy and clean energy, nature protection, green jobs and now river health.  The sooner the Baillieu Government understands that a healthy environment underpins healthy communities and sustainable, clean economies, the better off all Victorians will be.

[1] Liberal National Coalition Water Plan, page 17



Kelly O’Shanassy 0421 054 402