On the eve of the Swan Hill public forum and with just 54 days remaining in the consultation period, The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie implored regional Victorians to have their say on the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
“No one understands the importance of a sustainable river system and environment more than the people living in it,” said Senator McKenzie.
“Having travelled from Mildura to Wodonga in recent weeks I have consistently heard the same thing: ‘this is a poor plan that will cripple local communities and industries.’
“Tomorrow I will head to Swan Hill to support the community as it makes its views known to Craig Knowles and Minister Burke. They must take heed of local knowledge about the system.
“The authority cannot underestimate the impacts that will ripple throughout the Swan Hill community. This plan won’t just hurt local irrigators; it will hit the hairdresser and the mechanic, student enrolments and player numbers at the local sports clubs.
“Victorians expected a basin plan that would deliver on the triple bottom line. On assessment, Victoria’s message to Minister Burke is simple – fail, fail, fail.
“The economic and social consequences appear dire, the environmental outcomes unquantifiable as no-one knows where the water is coming from, nor where it is going.
“Much of the basin plan detail remains as murky as the Labor leadership.
“Regional Victoria deserves better than this out of touch Gillard Government,” Senator McKenzie concluded.