Greenpeace is seeking urgent clarification from the Agriculture and Environment Ministers Damien O’Connor and David Parker on a media report today that irrigation is still being publicly funded.
According to the report in Stuff, Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) has received no instruction from “the new minister” to cease funding irrigation projects.
CIIL chief executive Murray Gribben is quoted as stating,
“CIIL was continuing as it always had “still writing cheques, still funding schemes, we will not stop until we get advice from the new minister”.
Further, the CIIL board chairwoman Debra Birch reportedly said staff were “OK” with the situation at present and said,
“We’ve had no official advice so it’s hard get too concerned until we get more information.”
The new Government’s coalition agreement and speech from the throne included commitments to wind down public funding of irrigation.
Greenpeace Senior Campaign Advisor Steve Abel said, “We would be pretty damn disturbed if public money is still being given to irrigation schemes that are a key driver of dairy intensification and river pollution.”
“It seems extraordinary, and concerning, given how huge clean water is as a political issue, that the new Minister has had no communication with the agency that dishes out public funds for irrigation telling them to stop writing cheques.”
Greenpeace has emailed both ministers seeking clarification.
CIIL has a public fund of 400 million.