Water Week

EWN Publishing

Labor premiers of Vic and SA clash over an emergency Murray River water reserve: Feds seek 200GL water, worth up to $300m in the open market, from Vic irrigators without compensation and give it free to SA next year

Posted by waterweek on 4 October 2007

According to John Wiseman and Rick Wallace, in The Australian, (26/09/2007, p.4), the Labor premiers of Victoria and South Australia were at loggerheads over an emergency Murray River water reserve, killing off the last remnant of consensus on the issue with South Australian Premier Mike Rann accusing John Brumby of threatening the viability of the entire Murray-Darling Basin agreement in a sharply worded letter to his Victorian counterpart. No immediate need, disputes Brumby: At stake was a critical reserve of water, which could be needed for South Australia next year if the drought did not break. Rann warned that Brumby’s position could see Adelaide’s “water supply being significantly compromised”, a claim disputed by Brumby, who said “there is no immediate threat to Adelaide’s water supply”.

Vic stance not in national interest – Rann: “We believe the Victorian Government’s uncompromising position is not in the national interest,” Rann wrote. Brumby immediately hit back, saying Victoria would not agree to a contingency plan to share water with South Australia.

Not justified: ”It is completely unacceptable to expect Victorian irrigators to give up 200 gigalitres of water for what might or might not be required next autumn in South Australia,” he said. “What the commonwealth wants is to take 200 gigalitres of water, worth up to $300 million on the open market, from Victorian irrigators without compensation and give it free to South Australia for next year.”

The Australian, 26/9/2007, p. 4

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