Environmental groups, farmers and Indigenous leaders today called on the Andrews government to respond urgently to claims on ABC’s Four Corners that New South Wales irrigators are engaging in “illegal water use” at the expense of Victoria’s rivers and farmers.
Environment Victoria Acting CEO Dr Nicholas Aberle said:
“Victoria is being cheated out of water and the Victorian government needs to stand up to these greedy cotton growers who are guzzling billions of litres meant to flow downstream for our environment.
“Victorians deserve to know exactly how much water has been lost and how this will affect Victoria’s water supplies and the health of our rivers.
“The worst part is the New South Wales government has been rigging the rules to let these big irrigators get away with it. This shows utter contempt for the health of Australia’s rivers – an attitude that has no place in a government that shares responsibility for delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,” said Dr Aberle.
Last night’s Four Corners program exposed major issues in the NSW water industry, including claims of illegal water use and tampering with water meters.
“The actions of the NSW government are leaving downstream users and the environment quite literally hanging out to dry. This means there’s less water for Victoria’s farmers, communities and our precious rivers and wetlands.
“We need the Victorian government to take a leadership role in fixing this mess and to make sure this never happens again. The whole plan relies on accurate measurement, tracking and compliance. Based on the revelations last night, it seems clear we can’t rely on big upstream irrigators just to do the right thing.”
Environment Victoria, together with the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations and the Environmental Farmers Network, has written to Victoria’s Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, asking her to:
“Governments across Australia urgently need to re-establish trust in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and the environmental restoration it is designed to achieve. Victoria can and must play an important role in leading this process,” said Dr Aberle.
This call was supported by Rene Woods, Chair, Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations & John Pettigrew, Water Spokesperson, Environmental Farmers Network.
Dr Nicholas Aberle, Environment Victoria Campaigns Manager
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