Thursday 23 August 2018
Irrigators shafted by Labor’s delays
Northern Victorian irrigators have been shafted by Labor’s mismanaged and delayed review of delivery shares.
Barely a month since community consultation began on a review of delivery share arrangements in northern Victoria, first promised in October 2016, Ms Neville says farmers will now be given just one week to consider long-sought pricing information on infrastructure access fees.
Shadow Water Minister Steph Ryan said irrigators had been disappointed to find that despite the wait to access pricing information, the government had provided limited details.
“Dry conditions in northern Victoria have left dairy farmers facing the heart-breaking prospect of selling off entire herds, while irrigators are struggling to maintain crops and fodder,” Ms Ryan said.
“Labor has long known about the pressure infrastructure access fees are putting on our irrigators who have been calling for a breakdown of these fees.
“Lisa Neville has delayed the release of this pricing information and is now putting pressure on to assess it, even though it doesn’t provide the detail for which irrigators have asked.
“Delays and mismanagement of Labor’s review of delivery shares is eroding confidence at a time when our irrigators and communities can least afford it.”
Delivery shares, or the entitlement to have water delivered to land in an irrigation area, are tied to land which means the entitlement stays with a property when it is bought or sold.
“There’s a strong feeling that delivery shares have become a disincentive to invest in northern Victoria, particularly as the cost of running the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District increases,” Ms Ryan said.
“Despite first announcing its delivery share review in October 2016, Daniel Andrews’ failure to follow through until mid-2018 – just months from the next election – has dashed irrigators’ hopes for change.
“It’s clear Labor has thrown the whole issue in the too hard basket.”
If elected, the Liberal Nationals will hold a full review of the charges of northern Victoria’s rural water authorities to ensure water storage and delivery costs are fair and equitable.