Candidates across three electorates in northern Victoria and southern NSW are being asked to respond to questions on agriculture and water policy.
The Speak Up Campaign has written to all candidates in the seats of Farrer (NSW), Nicholls and Mallee (Vic). Communities across these electorates are the hardest hit by implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
Speak Up chair Shelley Scoullar said there has been ongoing concern for many years about the failure of governments to protect communities and deliver the fair and balanced Basin Plan that was promised.
“We want to know the views of all candidates and we want them publicly available so voters can make a judgment on this vital policy area,” Mrs Scoullar said.
The candidates are being asked the following questions:
1. In your opinion what has been the biggest error in the 2007 Water Act and implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan?
2. What is your overall view of the Basin Plan and the position held by both major parties that it must be completed ‘in full and on time’?
3. If you could change two things about water reform over the last two years, what would they be?
4. What value do you place, and why, on agriculture in your electorate, and what do you think is the biggest limiting factor for agriculture in the future?
5. What is your vision for the electorate you want to represent?
Mrs Scoullar said Speak Up has been made aware of extreme concern around the future stages of Basin Plan implementation, taking into account the lessons which should have been learned over the past decade.
“Quite clearly, water buybacks have been devastating to some communities and should never be repeated, yet they have not been ruled out by the Labor Party. Additionally, we need to respond to the environmental damage being caused by excessive flows, especially down the Murray River, and we should be responding with flexibility to the constraints that limit the legislated flows.
“We want to know how candidates will represent their electorate on this issue, and there are many voters who feel the same.
“We look forward to getting responses and making the public aware of the position being taken by each candidate,” Mrs Scoullar said.
Any candidate across the three electorates who has not received the questionnaire is encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.