THE Victorian Government has failed to act on an election promise to allow customers to elect rural water authority boards.
Before the 2010 election the Coalition promised to "establish a more open and democratic process for the appointment of rural water authority boards".
The promise was to allow customers to elect half of the board members on the four rural water authorities and restructure customer consultative committees to be elected by customers.
However, so far the Government has only held discussions on the issue.
Water Minister Peter Walsh said "there are mixed views on these proposals but discussions are continuing". Mr Walsh has made two rounds of appointments to water boards since winning office, the most recent in September last year.
He said more than 85 per cent of board members met the primary production and natural resource management/environment criteria on the four rural water boards.
Sunraysia Irrigators Council chairman Danny Lee said he had written to Mr Walsh supporting elections. "We (Sunraysia irrigators) are absolutely fanatical about elected committee and board members in this district," Mr Lee said.
He said customer service committees should be elected by irrigators and the chairman should have a seat on the water authority's board.
"The minister would still have his half of the board, but we would know we would have a position at the table when fee charges and infrastructure upgrades are being considered," Mr Lee said.
However, the Victorian Farmers Federation supports appointments instead of elections.
VFF Water council chairman Richard Anderson said the VFF wanted more customers on the boards, but did not support direct elections.
"Customers can nominate for the positions but people on the boards should go through an assessment process. History is littered with farmer co-operatives that failed because they didn't have the right people on the board," Mr Anderson said.
Opposition water spokesman John Lenders said Labor supported appointments instead of elections.