Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Greens leader Greg Barber MLC said today's Bureau of Meteorology update on the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) shows that Victoria is at risk of several dry months. He called on the Victorian government to explain its plans to deal with impacts on agriculture, emergency management and water supply.
Greg Barber said, "The Bureau of Meteorology has upgraded its El Niño alert, warning that the Pacific Ocean is moving close to El Niño conditions.
"The return of El Niño raises important questions in this election year and the Premier needs to be open with the Victorian community.
"Will the El Niño push the government to turn on Labor’s desalination plant and if so, what will the cost be to the Victorian community? At what point will water restrictions be reintroduced?
"Has the government done proper modelling of the impacts on agriculture and water supply?
"What is the projected impact on state GDP of the El Niño, based on changes to agricultural productivity and prices?
"Will more firefighters be recruited? Is the heatwave response going to be expanded?
"Victoria has had record rainfall and dams are at a high level, but the Bureau of Meteorology has today updated its El Niño alert and says that conditions are very likely to become dry in eastern Australia. The government is sleepwalking.
"The Liberal government has dropped the ball on water conservation and has no plan to deal with El Niño drought.
"We need to prepare in case we have a heatwave and a bad fire season.
"This drier, warmer weather will have a major impact on the global economy, through increased agricultural commodity prices.
"During the first two years of this government healthy rains filled the dams but that has turned around and we are headed into a drought. The Premier needs to show he has a plan to deal with this.
"According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the central Pacific has warmed by 0.6 °C since February this year," said Mr Barber.
For comment: Greg Barber - 9348 2622