Renewed hope for water policy

THE re-election of Sussan Ley as the Federal Member for Farrer presents a fresh opportunity for improved water policy and management, according to a regional community lobby group.

Speak Up For Water campaign spokesperson Linda Fawns said there was a sense of relief in the community when the Morrison Government was returned on Saturday night, and it was time to work towards solutions that support rural communities.

"In Farrer we had a hard-fought campaign, with communities concerned about the lack of action to fix obvious flaws in our management of water.

"We need the new Government to work closely with our communities to develop solutions we know exist.

"We are keen to work with Sussan Ley to ensure Government at the highest level is aware of our issues and what can be done to address them," Mrs Fawns said.

She said Speak Up had a positive meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Ms Ley just before the election was called, at which Mr Morrison showed empathy to regions suffering from flaws in the Basin Plan.

"He was unaware of many issues and had a genuine desire to work with us to improve water management and at the same time shore up the foundation on which our communities have been built.

"Over this term of the Morrison Government we need to take giant strides to rectify damage that has been caused by policy failures," Mrs Fawns said.

Speak Up has already been in contact with Ms Ley's office, seeking a meeting to 'get the ball rolling'.

"We do not have time to waste. Neither our communities nor our nation can afford the situation we have encountered over the past summer where water was not available for food and fibre production in southern New South Wales, yet it was unnecessarily flooding into forests.

"We cannot afford the damage being caused to our environment as authorities try to send huge quantities of water down the river to meet unrealistic, predetermined computer modelling, or the damage from a European carp explosion caused by unintentionally providing ideal breeding conditions."

Mrs Fawns said it was imperative that our communities 'get on the same page' to ensure the necessary steps are taken to rectify unintended consequences of the Basin Plan.

"We are extremely relieved that the Labor agenda of re-introducing water buy-backs and sacrificing rural communities has been rejected by the Australian people.

"This has presented a unique opportunity for government to accept past mistakes and work with our communities on the type of Basin Plan we were promised – one which genuinely attempts to protect our social and economic fabric, as well as the environment.

"To this point it has failed on all three counts. We look forward to working with Ms Ley and the Morrison Government to right this wrong," Mrs Fawns said.

Irrigators gathered in Rochester in early May for a "meet-the-candidates" forum with a Pause the Plan theme."

Irrigators gathered in Rochester in early May for a "meet-the-candidates" forum with a Pause the Plan theme."