Water Agriculture Gippsland South The Nationals

Labor must get serious on South Gippsland water

The Melbourne Labor Government needs to start getting serious about South Gippsland’s water needs according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien.

Labor this week released a drought statement that made only passing reference to the needs of Korumburra, Loch, Nyora and Poowong and a government spokesperson bizarrely said the Macalister Irrigation District upgrade was a priority over the Northern Towns project.

“Labor doesn’t seem to get that there is anything of importance outside the train tracks of Melbourne. The Northern Towns business case was prepared in the last months of the Coalition Government, but the project was left unfunded by Labor in this year’s budget,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It’s now before the government again and must be funded in next year’s budget.

“For the government to say its priority is the Macalister Irrigation District upgrade project, nearly two hours away, is just bizarre.

“One is an irrigation project and the other a town water security project and the two simply can’t be compared. It’s a bit like saying we can’t have the Avalon Airshow because the government’s priority is the AFL Grand Final. It’s just as ridiculous.”

Mr O’Brien said the expansion of Burra Foods and growth in the northern towns put pressure on water supplies and this year’s dry season only highlighted the need for the upgrade.

“Labor should be funding this. It is making lots of noise about water but so far has shown no inclination to get behind this project. Let me be clear, this project is not about using the desalination plant. It is simply about connecting Korumburra, Loch, Nyora and Poowong to the Lance Creek system and ultimately to the Melbourne supply, if necessary,” he said.

“Labor’s drought statement talked up the government’s plans but basically left the Northern Towns project in the hands of South Gippsland Water. That’s not good enough, Melbourne Labor must get behind this project in next year’s budget.”

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