Labor sends mixed signals on Northern Towns Project
The Melbourne Labor Government has confirmed it is not supporting South Gippsland Water’s Northern Towns Project, threatening future water supplies for Korumburra, Loch, Nyora and Poowong.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien asked a question in Parliament about Labor’s support for the proposal, which was responded to with a three paragraph statement confirming the Government would not support the project. However it suggested that, in effect, the same proposal was still being considered by the government and South Gippsland Water.
Mr O’Brien said he was disappointed that Melbourne Labor was sending mixed signals about securing water supplies for Korumburra, Loch, Nyora and Poowong and growing industry, in particular Burra Foods.
“Burra Foods employs a large number of local people and to ensure that it can continue to create additional jobs for locals, it needs to know that there is going to be a reliable water supply available into the future,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The company is a strong driver of the Korumburra, South Gippsland and Victorian economy, so it is vital that Burra Foods can continue to expand.”
Mr O’Brien said Labor's response suggested South Gippsland Water was currently investigating options for the towns, one of which was connecting to the Lance Creek Reservoir and thence the Melbourne supply, which is basically the Northern Towns Project.
“The Nationals in Government assisted South Gippsland Water to formulate the business case and were supportive of the project,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Labor needs to get on board and make it clear where it stands on securing supplies.
“With growth at Burra Foods and population growth in the future, business as usual is not an option.”
Mr O’Brien said Labor’s decision to sack all members of water boards had also thrown a spanner in the works and was making it harder for South Gippsland Water to plan future direction.
“This important project that will enable development in these towns to progress should be supported by Labor.”