Water lobby groups frustrated by Sefton report delay

By Rodney Woods

Federal Water Minister Keith Pitt says the long-awaited Sefton report will be released in "due course" but the wait continues to frustrate industry lobby groups.

Mr Pitt said the report, which looked into the social and economic conditions impacting communities across the Murray-Darling Basin, was very detailed and he was giving it the proper consideration it required.

Speak Up deputy chair Lachlan Marshall said it was extremely disappointing the Sefton report had not been allocated a higher priority by Mr Pitt and his office.

“We were under the impression this report would be released in April, and now we are a further two months down the track,” Mr Marshall said.

“For businesses like mine, which hinge on government decisions on water policy, this is a lifetime,” he said.

“This just seems to be another delaying tactic by the Coalition and Minister Pitt.

“They hope that rain will make the problems go away, but it won't.

“We get the strong feeling that Pitt (and the government) did not like what was in the report and that is why it is not being released.

“We have been told it will not be watered down by his department, but we don’t believe this because we have seen it happen too many times.

“His inability to release the Sefton report, or tell us when it will be released, is another indication that the water portfolio is too difficult for him to handle.

“We're waiting for the minister to show us this is not the case.”

Northern Victorian Irrigation Communities president Dudley Bryant said the government needed to be under greater scrutiny.

“It’s like all the things they are doing at the moment, they're not being scrutinised as much as they should be,” Mr Bryant said.

“What is said at the consultations and what the reports say don't match up.

“This is all going ahead without us being able to do anything about it.”