Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:49): My question is to the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water. Has the minister requested preliminary engineering work in relation to the rebuilding of the agricultural levees alongside the River Murray in the Lower Murray region?
The Hon. S.E. CLOSE (Port Adelaide—Deputy Premier, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Minister for Defence and Space Industries, Minister for Climate, Environment and Water) (14:50): As the member will likely be very aware, the focus is now shifting to post high-flood levels and on to what occurs for recovery and restoration. Works have commenced in assessing the status of levees along the Murray, and there will progressively be assessment of their current status, their soundness and also what the future plans ought to be. We are in the early days of that.
As I indicated yesterday, my view is that we haven't yet sufficiently communicated with landholders about how they can participate in those discussions. I believe that has started but has not gone sufficiently far for my liking. We will be discussing that at the emergency management council on Monday. Also, we have accelerated those interactions.
It's important that primary producers and landholders along the Murray who are concerned about the status of levees, about assistance for dewatering and about what is likely to happen into the future should know that they are able to get in touch with PIRSA, which is the primary contact for them as primary producers, or with DEW if it's indeed a case of levees that are managed or owned by DEW, which is a bit over half but not all of the levees, and that there will be a discussion with them about what is to happen next.
I expect that we will be in a better position to talk about this in the coming weeks, but I appreciate the concern that is being expressed by landholders along the Murray about what is likely to happen but also particularly about what is going to happen in the short term with assistance with dewatering, where they have stranded water on the other side of levees that are still intact as the water has gone down.
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