The Victorian Government has recently released a report on the reset of the Goulburn Murray Connections Project which seeks community input into the consultation process.
The Connections Project involves the construction of an agricultural irrigation network across the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District.
The project began in 2012 but is currently undergoing a significant change in focus after an independent GHD review found the assumptions initially underpinning the project were no longer appropriate.
Consultations are being held with Commonwealth and Victorian governments, key stakeholders, irrigator and industry representatives in order to reshape the project for the future.
Victorian Minister for Environment Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville, also announced the establishment of a Project Control Group, chaired by Mike Walsh, and a Stakeholder Consultative Committee to drive change and streamline decisions in a way that ensures local knowledge is embedded in every step of the consultation process.
The new Control Group guarantees that there is new expertise involved in resetting the Connections Project with strong, clear links to local knowledge.
The group will report directly to Ms Neville and the Goulburn Murray Water board.
The report on the consultation process highlights strong support among irrigators and local stakeholders for authorities to deliver the project, and follows the Labor Government’s commitment last year to consult the region’s irrigators and local stakeholders to help reset the Connections Project.
“It’s clear no one wants to see the project abandoned. We understand this process has been complex, but we will work together to ensure this project’s success and deliver benefits for the whole community,” Ms Neville said.
“This is the most significant irrigation infrastructure upgrade in Victoria’s history and it’s clear that what local communities want is for us to get on with delivering this vital project.”
The consultation process was extensive with community members able to express their views about what is working, what isn’t, and what they wanted to see happen to drive the project forward.
Feedback from more than 200 water users was obtained during open day sessions in Numurkah, Shepparton, Kyabram, Rochester, Kerang and Boort.