Labor's slow levee support leaves river communities high and dry for a year

While the Liberal Opposition welcomes the announcement of a flood recovery funding agreement for Lower River Murray levees, the much-needed measure has come 12 months too late.

The State and Federal Labor Governments are finally funding up to $17.1 million for the crucial remediation of government-owned levees between Mannum and Wellington that were damaged during the 2022-2023 River Murray Flood.

Shadow Minister for Water Resources and the River Murray, Nicola Centofanti, said while she’s pleased a funding agreement has finally been reached, it should have been addressed immediately following the flood – not a year down the track.

“It’s incredibly concerning that Labor’s moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to ongoing levee management, despite more than a year since the peak of the flood,” Dr Centofanti said.

“It’s all well and good to keep hearing about commitments, but words must be backed up by action. Our river communities deserve better.

“Peter Malinauskas and his Labor Government promised they would support our river communities, but since the flood passed they’re nowhere to be seen.

“It is troubling that it’s taken this long for them to work out a funding agreement and quite frankly, it is a kick in the guts to many landowners who have used their own money to do work the governments should have been doing 12 months ago.

“If it wasn’t for the Liberal Opposition pushing for a Select Committee into the River Murray Flood and holding the Malinauskas Labor Government to account, who knows where our river communities would be at.” 

In addition to the $17.1 million of jointly-funded assistance, the State Government has also allocated $14.2 million for works to undertake initial repairs to privately owned Lower River Murray Reclaimed Irrigation Area (LMRIA) levees.

Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Adrian Pederick, is questioning why the State Government has waited this long to allocate funds towards these repair works.

“Over the past year, irrigators have been pleading with the Malinauskas Labor Government to provide assistance so they can repair their private levees but were told the State was waiting on Federal Government funds,” Mr Pederick said.

“If the State Government had funds available all along I fail to comprehend why they are only now just deciding to allocate it to these critical repair works.

“Peter Malinauskas and his Labor Government are quick to commit money to big ticket items and sporting events for the state, but sadly it is not the same when it comes to helping our irrigators recover their livelihoods.”

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  • Adrian Pederick