Shadow Water Minister Peter Walsh has called on the Greens and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party to support a Liberal-Nationals proposal to establish a parliamentary inquiry into environmental water management in Victoria.
The proposed inquiry follows a number of significant blackwater events in recent years and ongoing community speculation whether poor management of environmental watering plays a role.
‘‘The environment is a significant water user in Victoria and it is important that it uses water effectively and efficiently, just like any other user,’’ Mr Walsh said.
‘‘There were significant blackwater events in the southern Murray-Darling Basin in recent years, which has seen many people in the community question if environmental watering could be better managed.
‘‘If the Greens and SFF have any respect for the concerns of our country communities they will support the establishment of this inquiry.’’
The inquiry, proposed to parliament by Member for Northern Victoria Luke O’Sullivan, would consider management, governance and use of environmental water in Victoria, as well as:
■Assessing the role of environmental water management in blackwater events.
■How environmental water and environmental water managers interact with and utilise management tools, such as carry-over, and its impact on the availability of water for irrigators.
■Considering the barriers to more efficient use of environmental water and how to address them.
■Assessing fees and charges applied to environmental water and if they are different to other water users.
Mr O’Sullivan said recent flooding had led to numerous blackwater events in northern Victoria and it was timely for parliament to consider the role of environmental water in preventing them.
The motion will be debated in parliament in coming weeks.