My adjournment item this evening is for the Minister for Water, and the action I am seeking from the minister is to come and meet with me and other impacted irrigators in northern Victoria to discuss the issues in relation to Goulburn-Murray Water. The minister in just the last week has announced another investigation or inquiry into Goulburn-Murray Water through the establishment of a new advisory panel of experts to provide some advice in relation to the way that Goulburn-Murray Water is undertaking its activities. In the media release the minister identifies that it:
… is the result of the community identifying the need for a clear strategic direction for the region to provide confidence in a sustainable, cost-effective irrigation district and ensure local landholders and growers have confidence to continue to grow their businesses.
Last week I was in Tongala and I met with some irrigators in the dairy industry. They related to me firsthand some of the significant issues that they are facing in terms of the way they deal with Goulburn-Murray Water — in particular, their water fees are significant, and they believe that they are excessive. They believe that the fees under the cost structures of Goulburn-Murray Water are too high, and they believe that there should be an inquiry into Goulburn-Murray Water, in particular to have a look at the cost structure within the organisation itself.
So it is pleasing to see that the minister is undertaking this inquiry into Goulburn-Murray Water to see if there can be a better service provided to the irrigators in northern Victoria, because water is the lifeblood of their activities in terms of growing the food that we eat. Whether that be in the dairy sector or the horticulture sector, there is no doubt that the value of that water is very important.
Ensuring that we get the issues around irrigation exactly right is very important for the future of not only their prosperity but also the state's prosperity, so I call on the minister to meet with me and impacted irrigators to hear firsthand from people who are actually undertaking irrigation on the ground what their concerns are in relation to Goulburn-Murray Water so hopefully we can get Goulburn-Murray Water into a much better state.