Northern Victorians will finally have the chance to put their concerns about environmental watering on the record in a new parliamentary inquiry.
State Member for Northern Victoria Luke O’Sullivan directly referred the inquiry to the Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee after Labor and the Greens failed to support the inquiry in the Upper House.
Shadow Water Minister Peter Walsh said this was a chance to achieve better waterway health and give communities and stakeholders a chance to voice their concerns.
‘‘When blackwater events move down our waterways, the impacts on river users and the environment are severe — this inquiry is an opportunity to achieve healthier waterways,’’ Mr Walsh said.
‘‘It was disappointing to see Jaala Pulford, the minister responsible for fisheries, fail to support an inquiry that would investigate protection of Murray cod, Murray crayfish and other native fish in our waterways.’’
The Nationals’ Mr O’Sullivan said many northern Victorian communities wanted the opportunity to put their concerns on the table.
‘‘We need to try to find the correct balance to ensure environmental water is managed efficiently and that it isn’t having a negative impact on the eco-system in the form of blackwater events,’’ Mr O’Sullivan said.
‘‘This inquiry will lay the groundwork to identify any actions we can take to better manage the health of our waterways.’’
The inquiry will examine opportunities for better management, governance and use of environmental water in Victoria and the ENRRDC will report on the inquiry by June 2018.