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Heel tops, lakes not

Tuesday, 11th September, 2018

Penny Sharpe Penny Sharpe

By Emily Roberts

The NSW Opposition will be looking at what policies they can put in place to protect the Menindee Lakes system, after a visit from the Shadow Environment Minister.

NSW Labor MP Penny Sharpe was in the city over the weekend to speak with locals about tourism, the lakes and water.

Ms Sharpe is also the Shadow Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events.

“My visit coincided with the Broken Heel Festival and I represented a number of my portfolios including tourism and major events,” she said.

“There were a number of factors to the trip. I attended parts of the festival but also met with tourism operators and those concerned about the water.

“I know that water is a big issue.”

Ms Sharpe said the Broken Heel Festival was doing wonders for the city.

“A lot of tourism operators said to me it was important to have events like Broken Heel,” she said.

“They told me that this event was the biggest single event for bringing in people to the city.

“If we could co-ordinate that with support from the State Government, it would be great. Projects could be ready to apply for the right grants.

“It was interesting hearing what the State Government should be doing to get people to visit Broken Hill.”

Ms Sharpe said the other big concern was the river and the lakes and what will happen to them.

“I’ve visited Menindee Lakes many times, I’ve seen it full and I’ve seen it empty.

“The biggest concerns I heard was the reconfiguration of the lakes and what that will mean. 

“What impact will these have on fish breeding, bird life, turtles?

“People are worried about the impact on breeding cycles of native fish.”

She said Labor will be looking into what they can do to protect our water.

“I have been working closely with Darriea Turley, as has Chris Minns (Shadow Water Minister) and Mick Veitch (Shadow Minister Regional and Rural Affairs).

“Now we will work through what protection is needed and what policies we can develop to take to the election.

“I know locals are concerned about the choices the State Government has been making. The future of the lakes is very important.”

Ms Sharpe said she will be back to visit the region.

“I look forward to coming back next year for the festival but I’m sure I will be back in between then.”

Mayor Darriea Turley said Labor was very interested in local issues.

“The Labor party has been coming out for some time, they want to know the issues that are confronting locals and look to develop good solutions.

“Penny is an outstanding shadow minister and has really good insight into events.

“We want to try and make Broken Heel a national/international event.

“We need to ask what the curator needs to push the event. We know there are accommodation and transport issues. So it was a great opportunity for Penny to speak with those operators.”

Mayor Turley said she felt Labor was determined to create policies to help the struggling river and the lakes.

“The community has raised their concerns and yet the State Government continues to ignore them.

“We have an environmental disaster in front of us. The Government has been negligent through a lack of action about the state of the Darling River, water sharing plan and Menindee Lakes.”

But there was hope on the horizon, the mayor said.

“I think the biggest message is that the Government is falling and there will be a change.

“We have to make sure Barwon has a real voice and that we get the policies right so people vote for Labor.”

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