Labor’s $277m secret water report

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford has refused to rule out reversing the north-south pipeline, a project that would come at significant cost to farmers.

A secret government report last week found reversing the north-south pipeline would cost $277 million, require upgraded pumps and 14km of new pipes, either under or over the Yarra River.

For the project to be economically viable, water prices in the Goulburn system would have to be consistently above $1350/ML – well above historic levels.

Ms Pulford was unable to answer questions about the report when asked in Parliament by The Nationals Member for Northern Victoria Luke O’Sullivan on Tuesday.

In a written response on Wednesday, Ms Pulford would not rule out the project and said “this option remains on the table”.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Water Peter Walsh

It wasn’t enough for Daniel Andrews to waste $27 million on a desal water order we don’t need and he is now targeting farmers’ back-pocket.

The Minister couldn’t say if there was advice from her own Department on the economic viability of Labor’s north-south-north pipe dream - despite the report detailing significant impacts for farmers.

Water prices of $300/ML came close to sending some farmers out of business last year, so $1350/ML isn't only unfeasible, it's deluded.

Victorian families and farmers can’t afford to pay for any more of Daniel Andrews’ water white elephants.

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