PUBLIC forums will start today on new state water laws after the Victorian Government refused demands from environmental groups to extend a deadline for debate.
Environment groups wanted more consultation because of the complexity of the changes.
The first public forum will be in Melbourne today, with a second in Mildura tomorrow.
The Water Bill Exposure Draft was released on December 19 with submissions closing on February 14. The Government is combining the Water Act 1989 and the Water Industry Act 1994 to streamline water management.
Environment Victoria and the Goulburn Valley Environment Group said because of the summer holidays, the many proposed changes and the lateness of announcing the forums the Government should extend submissions by a fortnight.
"It is important that the public has the opportunity to understand the significance and potential impact of the proposals before being asked to make comment," Environment Victoria rivers campaigner Juliet Le Feuvre said.