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12 March 1991 - Current

Page 126
05 February 2020
ASSEMBLY Questions without notice and ministers statements Lisa Neville

Ms NEVILLE (Bellarine—Minister for Water, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (16:14): Can I thank the member for Shepparton for her question. As the member knows, I have strongly tried to ensure that there is no more water recovery from the southern basin—because it cannot just be from Victoria; it is from the southern basin—that would have a negative socio-economic impact. I am absolutely aware of the proposals, particularly from South Australia, that are absolutely in breach of the agreement that was reached in 2018. In my view they are in breach of the law. The agreement is actually very clear: you cannot deliver this water if it has a negative impact, and we know that that sort of water recovery, those sorts of projects, will continue to have a negative impact.

I have raised this issue with the federal minister, both in writing and verbally, and I will continue to do that. It is my view that the federal department is out of step with the federal minister on this and that the federal department continues to run their own agenda. They do it at each and every meeting, which is why it is probably the most active group of ministers who make the decisions around the table as opposed to departments. I will continue to be a strong voice to stop that happening and do whatever we can to ensure that they abide by the agreement that the ministers have reached. I am confident that the federal minister will continue to back that position that was reached by ministers. Whatever I can do—and we are seeking advice about that—to ensure that people comply with our agreement, we will do.