Surplus environmental water must be put on the market as soon as possible to help northern Victorian farmers struggling through dry conditions. We welcome advice from the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH) that it will be considering selling 10GL from the Goulburn regulated allocation.
If there’s surplus water in the system, the CEWH and the VEWH must work together to get it on to the market and delivered as soon as possible.
If it goes on the market in the next few weeks, our farmers still have the chance to get decent yields out of fodder production and potentially save their livestock.
Farmers in parts of northern Victoria are already facing that heart-breaking decision right now of selling off their entire herds, so it is vital to get any surplus water on the market as soon as possible before irreversible decisions are made.
I also call for a review of the thousands of megalitres of environmental water that is currently flooding the Gunbower forest.
I’ve urged Minister Neville to ask the VEWH and CEWH to re-examine the Gunbower environmental watering plan, which is due to continue throughout spring despite the dry conditions.
Environmental flows are supposed to mimic natural conditions but tipping thousands of megalitres into Gunbower forest while the rest of the surrounding countryside is so dry is doing the exact opposite.
We must question whether this is the most effective use of water when it could be used to grow fodder to support livestock farmers doing it tough.
Recent Federal Government changes have made it easier for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to trade water in a win-win for farmers and the environment where the revenue raised is put towards beneficial environmental works.
Steph Ryan, Shadow Minister for Water.