Water

Pitt visit on the cards once borders re-open

By Country News

A visit from Water Minister Keith Pitt is on the cards once border restrictions have eased, according to Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.

Ms Ley visited Deniliquin on September 8 primarily to meet with landholders and community members in the region to discuss reforms to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

She was expected to visit Barham, Moama, Coleambally, Griffith, Leeton and Narrandera during this trip, discussing the Murray-Darling Communities Investment Package, which details 11 initiatives to keep the basin plan on track and rule out water buybacks.

Ms Ley said as soon as the NSW-Victoria border reopened and Minister Pitt could travel from Queensland freely, a visit to the region was ‘‘the first thing we will be pushing’’.

‘‘He will come to the region, but he is going to have to wait until the border opens,’’ Ms Ley said.

‘‘If he left Queensland now and came here he would have to isolate for two weeks, and in any case when he comes here he needs to be able to see both sides of the Murray River.

‘‘It will happen, but in the meantime we are certainly dealing with all the questions coming in and the consultations, and I am out and about this week meeting people.

‘‘That is the whole point of the travelling I am doing this week; it is to meet people and mainly talk about water.’’

Ms Ley has encouraged locals to come back to her with questions and feedback about the Murray-Darling Communities Investment Package.

‘‘What we are doing is making available a lot of the information and saying to people `have a look at it, it is quite detailed, come back to me with your thoughts’ — and as always I am very happy to discuss the individual questions you might have,’’ she said.

‘‘Different people have different questions and it is a very big package, so I would suggest people read the Water Minister’s speech (last week) because it spells out a lot of the thinking and the new approach.

‘‘Personally, I am very pleased that having argued for the Sefton report as we went into the last election, I can see very much that from the findings (of the report) the fact communities are hurting is reflected in this new policy approach.’’

— Deniliquin Pastoral Times