Environment Protection Minister Peter Garrett must guarantee there will be no weakening of conditions required for operation of Victoria’s controversial Sugarloaf or ‘North-South’ Pipeline, Coalition Murray Darling spokesman Simon Birmingham said today.
It follows Victoria’s Acting Auditor-General today slamming the Brumby Government’s decision to proceed with several major programs, stating the Government’s water planning
“was based on advice of water savings and cost assumptions that had not been verified, technology that had not yet proven itself, and the feasibility of the project, which was unknown”
Acting Auditor-General Dr Peter Frost, 9 June 2010
“It has long been speculated that Victoria’s promised water savings didn’t stack up, with leaked URS documents prepared in 2004, and unearthed in April last year, highlighting gross overestimation,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“It was a condition of the pipeline’s approval that water extracted would come from water savings under the Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Project, which were to be shared between the environment, irrigators and the pipeline.
“Minister Garrett approved the building of this pipeline and he must guarantee that the environment and irrigators will still get their share of the savings before water is allowed to be piped to Melbourne.
“Victoria can’t be allowed to use its mismanagement as an excuse to rob the environment of desperately needed flows or undermine future food security simply to fill the pipeline.
“Victoria’s promised water savings may have turned out to be a pipe dream. But that dream will become a nightmare if they’re allowed to put their pipeline before the environment or farmers.
“Peter Garrett simply cannot allow the Brumby Government to drain up to 75 billion litres of water from the stressed Murray Darling Basin without providing the water savings it promised.”