Speak Up backs up Lisa Neville

By Riverine Herald

THE community-based Speak Up campaign has welcomed news Lisa Neville will continue as Victorian water minister.

‘‘Lisa has shown a unique understanding of water issues and the need for change to protect our communities,’’ Speak Up spokesperson Darcy Hare said.

‘‘We are delighted that following the Victorian election last Saturday she will continue in the water minister’s role.

‘‘Federally we have had six water ministers in five years, so it is great to have consistency in the role at state level, rather than another L-plater.

‘‘The Murray-Darling Basin Plan is at a vital stage and we need politicians who are prepared to say ‘enough is enough’; that we can have no more unnecessary damage to rural communities.

‘‘Our nation is suffering because we have made mistakes with the basin plan which those in charge of its implementation refuse to acknowledge.

‘‘The future of rural communities relies on people like Lisa Neville being strong enough to demand change.

‘‘Lisa stood firm in the interests of regional Victoria at the meeting of Commonwealth and State water ministers in June, demanding no adverse impacts if further water is recovered.

‘‘Of course, we know it’s impossible to recover more water with no adverse impacts, and we also know there are many people – especially those from the Commonwealth Department of Water and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority – who will continue denying this unequivocal fact.

‘‘That is why experienced politicians like Lisa Neville who can see through the misinformation being provided are so important,’’ Mr Hare said.

He added Speak Up was looking forward to the outcome of the next meeting of water ministers, scheduled to be held in Melbourne on December 14.

‘‘With further recent evidence about the basin plan’s flaws, we’re confident that ministers like Lisa Neville and NSW water minister Niall Blair will demand a halt to the social and economic damage it is causing.

‘‘They are also becoming more aware that the river flow volumes being proposed simply will not fit down the system without the risk of massive flood to public and private land. This will come at an enormous cost to taxpayers.’’

Mr Hare said the Andrews Government was given a strong mandate to deliver growth and prosperity to its state, and welcomed the commitment from Premier Andrews that it would govern for all Victorians.

‘‘We look forward to continuing our positive relationship with the Victorian Government, in particular Lisa Neville, as we try to reset a basin plan that has gone pear-shaped,’’ Mr Hare said.