“Water is too important to be sidelined and treated as an afterthought”

NSW Nationals

Shadow Water Minister Steph Cooke is calling on the Water Minister to take a more proactive approach during the Minns Labor Government’s second year in office when it comes to finding solutions to water issues throughout rural and regional areas.

Ms Cooke said it’s her very real fear that issues surrounding the safe and secure supply of water in rural and regional communities across the state are not getting the attention they deserve.

“So much so that I delivered a Notice of Motion in Parliament last week, calling on this government to make water infrastructure west of the Great Divide, an immediate priority,” Ms Cooke said.

“The Water Minister has been in the role for 12 months, and all the government has managed to achieve is cancelling visionary projects like raising the Wyangala Dam wall, signing us up to a sham and highly opaque Murray Darling Basin Plan deal, and kicking key water security projects further down the road.

“Not to mention the 13 regional towns and villages that have been placed on boil water notices at various intervals since December last year, with little to no action from the government to alleviate the problems at the heart of the boil water warnings.

“It would be unfair to be too critical; the Water Minister does have other portfolio responsibilities including housing, homelessness, mental health, and youth; all presenting significant challenges that the government has struggled to address during its first 12 months in office.

“But water is too important to be sidelined and treated as an afterthought; inaction is no longer an option,” she said.

Ms Cooke said she worries the Water Minister is out of her depth when it comes to finding solutions to the ongoing water security and supply issues those in the regions are facing.

“Our towns are expanding, but without the proper infrastructure in place, this growth will always be held back,” Ms Cooke said.

“Having safe and secure water supplies at our schools, hospitals, homes, and small businesses is a basic requirement, and if the Minns Labor Government is serious about giving our rural and regional communities every opportunity to thrive, they must govern for the entire state, and focus their attention on issues beyond the Great Divide,” she said.

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