Mr Walsh has again called for the extra 450Gl in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to be taken off the table following the release of a report by Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville in Echuca last week.
The report, commissioned by the Victorian Government, found socio-economic effects were being felt across the southern basin as a result of the basin plan, with dairy farmers in particular hit hard.
‘‘The 450Gl should be taken off the table because it cannot be done without a socio-economic impact,’’ he said.
‘‘(The report) reinforced the positions that have been identified by people living in the region of the socio-economic cost of the plan.’’
Mr Walsh said Ms Neville did leave herself an opening to negotiate by not saying the 450Gl would never be delivered, something her federal counterpart, Labor water spokesperson Tony Burke, has advocated for.
‘‘Tony Burke at some point needs to realise he’s flogging a dead horse on this issue. (Ms Neville) did effectively pay compliments to (Federal Water Minister) Barnaby Joyce ... I think Barnaby has shown strong leadership on this issue.’’
Mr Walsh said he did not share the positivity of the panel about the re-set of the Connections project and believed it would not deliver a long-term legacy and would instead lead to higher water prices.
He said he had spoken with a number of farmers who had been delayed by the program, including farmer John Smith who shared his concerns at the meeting.
‘‘I share his frustrations with ever trying to get anything done under the project. It’s a lot of talk and no action ... Let’s see if actions back up the rhetoric at the meeting.’’