Media Releases

Dump Littleproud, install Drum – Sheed calls for a new Federal Water Minister

September 19, 2019

Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has called on the federal government to replace David Littleproud as the minister for water.

“Ministers who hail from the Northern Basin clearly have no idea how badly the mismanagement of water in their electorates is damaging the Southern Basin,” Ms Sheed said.

“Time and time-again Minister Littleproud has demonstrated he is more concerned with protecting big Northern Basin corporate irrigators – ignoring issues such as alleged corruption and rampant flood plain harvesting which is killing the Darling – than fixing the many problems plaguing the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.”

Replacing Minister Littleproud with the Member for Nicholls Damian Drum would go partway to addressing the chronic Northern Basin bias in the federal government, according to Ms Sheed.

“Damian has recently shown he gets the issues and is calling for change,” Ms Sheed said.

“Damian’s recent statements to the federal parliament and ABC radio about the Lower Lakes demonstrate he’s come on board and is prepared to fight on this important issue.”

Last week, both Ms Sheed and Mr Drum declared their support in their respective parliaments for an investigation into claims made by palaeoecologist Professor Peter Gell that South Australia’s Lower Lakes were estuarine prior to human intervention.

Earlier this month around 2000 disaffected irrigator farmers rallied at Tocumwal and passed a number of motions including one demanding the removal of Mr Littleproud as minister for water along with a demand to investigate Prof Gell’s claims regarding the Lower Lakes.

“To date Minister Littleproud has shown no appetite for investigating this important issue and indeed continues to insist that the plan should be delivered in full and on time, threatening our farmers with further buybacks, presumably from the southern Basin. Farmers in this region are tired of his rhetoric and lack of action and it is time that he went,” Ms Sheed said.

“I’d like to acknowledge Damian for recognising the issue of South Australia’s Lower Lakes. It is ridiculous to have open barrages flushing fresh water into the ocean just to maintain the apparent myth the Lower Lakes were never estuarine. The Barmah Choke is running at capacity, the Lower Lakes are full at a time when water conservation for critical food and fodder supplies should be the pre-eminent consideration.

“The federal government has been tolerating water ministers who put the interests of their own electorates ahead of the national interest and those of the Southern Murray Darling Basin.

“Damian Drum would have the capacity to bring a broader view and some balance back into the very troubling issues that continue to plague the Murray Darling Basin Plan.”

ENDS

Media contact

Myles Peterson 0467 035 840│myles.peterson@parliament.vic.gov.au

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