Water

Call for leadership

By Country News

Genuine political leadership is needed to solve the NSW Murray water crisis, but Speak Up says it is concerned this will not occur.

Responding to comments last week by Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley, Speak Up deputy chair Lachlan Marshall said everyone agreed with Ms Ley that it was a complex issue.

‘‘Ms Ley has, quite rightly, highlighted the complexity of the issues impacting the Murray Valley and the communities she represents,’’ Mr Marshall said.

‘‘We agree there are many things which need to take place at state level, and this includes the challenges with water sharing arrangements.

‘‘However, I think we also need to acknowledge that the (Murray-Darling) Basin Plan was initially a Federal Government initiative and, as a consequence, the Federal Government and its members must take responsibility for its failings.

‘‘To continue with the denial we see from Water Minister David Littleproud is not acceptable and needs to be called out by our local member. In this instance we do not believe Ms Ley should simply continue to toe the party line.’’

Mr Marshall said it seemed ‘‘inconceivable’’ the Federal Government would not intervene in a basin plan that was developed on the false premise that a freshwater solution was needed to fix environmental issues in the Lower Lakes.

‘‘We cannot simply dismiss the recently released CSIRO peer-reviewed report which demonstrated the Lower Lakes were traditionally estuarine, which is what Mr Littleproud and the Federal Government are doing.

‘‘Most people would be horrified to think any government — state or federal – would contemplate spending more taxpayers’ money to deliver more water downstream to what was an estuarine system.

‘‘And in doing this, at the same time the Federal Government is actually condoning the destruction of both the environment and communities in Ms Ley’s electorate.

‘‘This needs to be called out.’’