Monday, 18 February 2008

Media 2007-03-14 Goldfields Superpipe


14 March 2007. Wednesday.

Peter Kavanagh DLP MLC for Western Victoria, has urged the State government to seriously negotiate with farmers and respect the properties they are affecting when constructing water infrastructure projects. Mr Kavanagh has also argued in Parliament that Victorian governments have been negligent over a long period in failing to adequately plan for droughts and future water needs.

Peter Kavanagh's comments in Hansard follows.

For further comment please call Peter Kavanagh on 03 5222 1503.

Mr KAVANAGH (Western Victoria) -- I will briefly explain why I intend to support the amendment of the bill. Last week I met with quite a lot of farmers in the Ballarat area through whose properties the super-pipe will pass. Those farmers are angry; they feel that the government is not listening to them. They are

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worried about a lot of things associated with the super-pipe, including the possibility of weeds being spread while the super-pipe is being laid. They have been given conflicting information about the depth of the pipe, but they demand that the top of the pipe be at least 1 metre from ground level to allow for the use of large agricultural machinery in the future. They want to know what will happen to the soil that is displaced by the super-pipe. They claim that in the past when pipes have been laid quite often the topsoil has been put straight on top of the pipe and then buried under clay and rocks, ruining part of their land. They want assurances about the future -- for example, they want a guarantee that, if the pipe breaks, it will be repaired without damage to their properties.

According to many experts there are superior alternatives to the super-pipe.

Two former ministers -- Glyndwr Jenkins, who was Minister of Water Supply under Lindsay Thompson, and Rod Mackenzie, who was Minister for Conservation, Forests and Lands under John Cain, Jr -- have been promoting a Barwon Water recommendation of 2003 for a weir on the Gellibrand River capturing some of its water, together with a pipe to the West Barwon Dam. At present only 7 per cent of Gellibrand River water is used, while 93 per cent flows into the sea. This option, which would be of low environmental impact, would be economical and would take the pressure off the water supply that is presently shared between Ballarat and Geelong.

Last year this house debated a motion to condemn the government for its handling of water. I voted against that motion because I did not want the first Democratic Labor Party vote in this house in almost 50 years to be condemning anybody. I also do not know if the Kennett government had a much better record on water than the present government does.

However, it seems to me that over a period of decades successive Victorian governments have shown a lack of leadership and have even shown neglect on the water issue. I urge the government to seriously address the concerns of landowners who will be affected by the super-pipe and to cast aside any ideological prejudices it may have against environmentally responsible dams in seeking long-term solutions to the water challenges facing Victoria.


Peter Kavanagh MLC
Member for Western Victoria
Parliament of Victoria

"La Cabine"
2nd Floor
1 Yarra Street
Geelong VIC 3220

Ph: 03 5222 1503
Fax: 03 5222 8677


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