Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville has been called on to invoke her powers over water trading rules, following concerns about high levels of inter-valley trades.
State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said Ms Neville must take action to prevent ongoing damage to the Goulburn River, which has been flowing at high levels all summer to satisfy downstream demand.
‘‘For years the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority has been tasked to deal with the improvement of the environment of the Goulburn River banks and verges and substantial sums of money have been invested in this work,’’ Ms Sheed told parliament last week.
‘‘We are now being faced with the loss of that valuable work as a result of frequent high level flows down the Goulburn River to meet inter-valley transfers and environmental requirements.’’
Under the Water Trading Rules Ms Sheed said Rule 26 would be invoked which would put a cap on trades or refuse any further trades that would be likely to cause adverse impacts on the environment or other water users.
‘‘When water trading was introduced the social and environmental damage that would be caused as a result of significant inter-valley transfers further downriver and beyond the GMID (Goulburn Murray Irrigation District) was not anticipated,’’ Ms Sheed said.
‘‘The results are now in. The damage has been and continues to be done to the socio-economic fabric of our communities, and the loss will reverberate for years.
‘‘The trade of water at such high levels out of the GMID must be reviewed as a matter of urgency and steps taken to reduce the impacts that are now so obvious.’’
Ms Sheed also encouraged Ms Neville to travel to Shepparton to see the issues for herself.