Media Releases | 18th Sep, 2014

Napthine government misused funds designed to protect Victoria’s rivers and creeks

18 September 2014

Environment Victoria has today demanded answers from the Napthine Government who have failed to spend a key environmental levy implemented to protect rivers and farm lands on the projects it was designed for.

Juliet Le Feuvre, Healthy Rivers Campaigner at Environment Victoria said today’s DEPI annual report shows that the Napthine government has misused the funds designed to protect Victoria’s precious rivers and creeks.

“The government has increased its spending on inappropriate projects and has not spent the money as it’s legally obliged to. The losers here are our rivers and creeks that are still in poor condition and our farmers and other water users who depend on them.

“The government appears to have ignored the heavy criticism from the Auditor General earlier in the year, as the trend to spend money on core government business and inappropriate projects clearly continues.

“This money is meant to be spent on projects that enhance the sustainable use of water and restore our rivers. Instead it has been used to boost pre-election spending and fund core government business.

Environment Victoria pointed to the most concerning misuse of funds on non-conforming projects including:

  • Living Melbourne, Living Victoria $10.5 million – criticised by Auditor General as core government business
  • Macalister Irrigation District 2020 $3.2 million – criticised by Auditor General because water savings bring private benefits to farmers
  • Dredging Kananook Creek $2.5 million – specifically to ‘enable return of watercraft’
  • Dredging Mordialloc Creek $ 2 million – works in a key marginal seat
  • Murray-Darling Basin Authority ‘payment on behalf of state’  $4.2 million – transferred from other funding sources

“This is a levy on all Victorians paid for out of our water bills. We expect it to be properly spent,” said Ms Le Feuvre.

“Water is scarce in this state. We need to look after it. Our creeks and rivers need these funds to ensure they can keep providing the lifeblood of Victorians.

“This state’s economy needs these rivers and they provide tremendous economic benefits. If we don’t use this levy properly, we’re wasting Victorian’s money and undermining our future”, said Juliet Le Feuvre.

For comment: Juliet Le Feuvre 0428 770 019