The Brumby Government must abandon its plan to loot billions of litres of water from the stressed Thomson River, Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said today.
Mr Ryan said there was no need to loot water from Gippsland given Melbourne had received good September rainfall.
“The Brumby Government must rethink its decision to rob the Thomson River and the Gippsland Lakes of 10 billion litres of environmental water now that Melbourne storages have received good inflows,” Mr Ryan said.
“It is appalling the government is taking more water from a stressed river when Melbourne has received enough rain to cause minor floods.”
Mr Ryan said Melbourne’s dam levels increased by about 42 billion litres as a result of the rain.
“The city’s dams received more than four times the volume of water the Brumby Government intends to loot from the Thomson River,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Thomson’s environmental water reserve should now be returned to guarantee the health of Gippsland’s waterways.”
Mr Ryan said Labor had allocated 144 billion litres of environmental water to Melbourne over the past few years from some of the state’s most stressed rivers, including the Thomson, Goulburn, Murray and Snowy rivers.
“The Brumby Government has developed an unhealthy dependence on the state’s environmental water reserves,” Mr Ryan said.
“Labor has looted the Thomson River’s environmental allocation for Melbourne every year for the past three years, exposing the river and the Gippsland Lakes to algal blooms.
“The Premier’s plan to take another 10 billion litres from the Thomson River this year will further risk the health of the Lakes and the communities which depend on these waterways.
“Instead of taking water from parched river systems, the government needs to secure Melbourne’s water supplies from within the city’s own catchment,” Mr Ryan said.