Murray River Group of Councils, Media Release, 4 March 2021
Hon Keith Pitt MP joined local member for Mallee Dr Anne Webster and Senator Hon Bridget McKenzie, in Mildura today to talk water with the Murray River Group of Councils.
Mayors of the six member councils welcomed the opportunity to directly raise their concerns about the impacts of the Basin Plan on the region on behalf of northern Victorian communities.
Chair of the Murray River Group, Cr Jason Modica praised Minister Pitt for engaging with Local Government.
“We want to thank Minister Pitt for spending the time to talk with us today and we were pleased that Dr Webster and Senator McKenzie could be here.
“He said he was going to put communities at the centre of the Basin Plan implementation and it is important that he is here, in Mildura and that he heard from Mayors who represent communities from across northern Victoria.
“We are all about a balanced implementation of the Basin Plan”, said Cr Modica.
“Water is precious and it has to be used in the best possible way, to regenerate and preserve our region’s environment and to sustain the long-term viability of our agriculture and food manufacturing industries”.
“We know we are facing huge challenges in the implementation of the Basin Pan to 2024 and beyond that, especially with a predicted drier climate.
In the discussion, the Group raised issues around deliverability risks, the Barmah Choke, the health of the lower Darling River including its impact on the Murray and the need for investment in the region to mitigate the impact of the Basin Plan.
“The additional funding Minister Pitt has put into the Murray Darling Communities Investment package are welcome, and needed” said Cr Modica.
“We asked the Minister to work with our communities to get the best outcomes from that money and he indicated he was happy to keep doing that.
“We want to see a co-ordinated approach. By co-ordinating it with other available funding, investing not just in water projects but in critical infrastructure like digital connectivity, energy and transport we can generate new forms of economic prosperity for our region.
“These are the things that our communities need to help them to keep adapting and innovating. Minister Pitt, Dr Webster and Senator McKenzie all were really strong on this which was wonderful. These things really are the keys to resilience and to keeping our agriculture sector healthy” said Cr Modica.
The Murray River Group comprises Mildura, Swan Hill, Gannawarra, Loddon, Campaspe and Moria Councils.