Plibersek in high demand

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State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed has invited Tanya Plibersek to visit the Goulburn region and see the impact of water policy for herself. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

Now that Tanya Plibersek has been sworn in as Australia’s new water minister, the floodgates have opened.

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed has extended her own invitation to the Federal Member for Sydney, asking her to visit the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District.

During the proposed visit Ms Plibersek would meet with the GMID Water Leadership Group to discuss the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“Our main concern is that the government will continue the rollout of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan with a hard deadline of 2024 and buyback water from our district here in the GMID when the water recovery targets are not met,” Ms Sheed said.

“We know now that many water efficiency projects will not be completed by 2024, so the most sensible option is to extend that deadline to allow this good work to continue instead of again depleting water permanently from our vital irrigation system here in the GMID.”

Well-known rural water advocate and Barham resident Lloyd Polkinghorne echoed Ms Sheed’s concern around harsh deadlines.

“Unfortunately, at this stage there is a sense of déjà vu,” Mr Polkinghorne said.

“We have a Labor Government dictated to by South Australian interests, and a National Party more interested in northern basin donors than those in the south who have so far done the heavy lifting under the basin plan.

“How could the new water minister (Tanya Plibersek) commit to recovering the additional 450Gl under the basin plan before she has made a serious attempt to learn more about the plan and its shortcomings, or visit this region which has been the most impacted?”

Mr Polkinghorne said the 450Gl couldn’t physically be delivered down the river.

“Only last week, the constraints in sending large volumes of water through the Barmah Choke were again highlighted by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority,” he said.

“I just cannot comprehend which part of ‘the water won’t fit’ that our politicians do not understand.”