Member for Roe Peter Rundle says the Water Minister’s blatant ignorance of water issues affecting producers and towns in his electorate was verging on dangerous.
In Parliament this week Mr Rundle asked the Minister if he could explain why Water Corporation cut off supply to critical standpipes in the Lake Grace and Kulin areas during periods of high demand.
“The practice of Water Corporation turning off supply to standpipes jeopardises the ability of producers to collect emergency water for stock and firefighting purposes,” Mr Rundle said.
“When asked, the Minister failed to explain how this situation occurred and was unable to guarantee that it wouldn’t happen again.
“It just highlights the McGowan Government’s incredible disdain for regional communities and the reality that they do not understand the critical need for secure water supply in areas affected by severe water shortages.”
Mr Rundle said the Water Corporation could fix nearby dams and surface water catchments to make sure water users in the area had access to back-up surface supply in the case of future shortages to standpipes connected to scheme.
However the Minister refused to commit to fixing the dams, which have actually been slated for fill-in by the Water Corporation.
“Not only is Mr Kelly failing in his duty as a Minister to fix this immediate problem, he has also ripped funding out of programs designed to address water supply challenges in regional WA,” Mr Rundle said.
“That includes gutting the $23 million Watering WA program and ending the Farm Water Rebate Scheme.
“Until the McGowan Government came to power, the rebate scheme alone invested $36 million over more than 20 years to improving water efficiencies and addressing deficiency on 4000 farms.”
Mr Rundle added that it wasn’t only landowners that were missing out. Auditors, drillers, installers and water hardware suppliers involved improving water supplies on-farm were also losing business.
“Scrapping these programs puts rural industries in perilous danger of survival at a time water is a very scarce commodity,” he said.
“The McGowan Government’s continued contempt towards regional WA is palpable in the communities affected by short-sighted and metro-centric decision making.”