Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Water Act under review

The VFF has welcomed a new draft for a state water bill.

January 7, 2014 9:00am

VFF water policy chairman Richard Anderson said the proposed changes to the Water Act were a positive move for water law transparency.

‘‘What’s most important in this redraft is that there are no changes to the tenure or volume of existing water entitlements,’’ Mr Anderson said.

‘‘It also consolidates on previous versions of the Act, making it easier to understand. This is vital for irrigators, stock and domestic users and provides ongoing security.’’

The review has brought the Water Act 1989 and the Water Industry Act 1994 into a single new streamlined Water Act that reflects contemporary practice in water management and government policy.

In particular, the VFF welcomed sections of the bill that lengthened licence terms by up to 20 years — where previously the maximum was 15 years, with some licences only one to five years — and empower the minister to demand new plantation owners obtain a take-and-use licence to offset the additional water they intercept in stressed catchments.

The Exposure Draft gives Victorians a chance to provide feedback on the proposed changes before they are passed as law.

Submissions on the draft are due by February 14.

Federal funding for the $103million Sunraysia Modernisation Project in infrastructure investment has been welcomed by the VFF.

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