Sep 26, 2006

Action not bureaucracy needed for water crisis

Action not bureaucracy needed for water crisis

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

26 September 2006

The new Office of Water Resources creates another layer of bureaucracy without providing any real initiatives to address Australia’s water crisis.

Australia needs a plan to promote water supply, not just a plan to promote Malcolm Turnbull.

Creating a new sub-section in a Department is not a substitute for action.

Australians need to hear the sound of water flowing, not just chairs shuffling.

The Howard Government has no new policies to address Australia’s water crisis.

The Government should match Labor’s initiatives to establish a target of 30 per cent of water recycling for Australia by the year 2015, and getting 1,500 giga-litres back into the Murray River.

Until the Howard Government gets serious about addressing climate change, then it is hard to take them seriously when it comes to the consequences of climate change which include a drastic reduction in our water supply.

The national target of recycling at least 30% of Australia’s wastewater by 2015 is ambitious, but realistic and absolutely necessary. Greater use of recycled water by industry and agriculture will free up valuable drinking water and help increase environmental water flows in rivers.

Despite national water reform being touted as a priority for the Howard Government, in practice there is little to show for it over the past 10 years.

River systems, and in particular the Murray Darling system, are thirsty for water. The “Living Murray” program is almost on life support.

In November 2003 the Howard Government promised to give the Murray River 500 giga-litres within five years. That promise was warmed up in the 2006 Budget but, despite the rhetoric, not a single drop has actually been returned as a result of the Living Murray First Step program.

Climate change threatens to destroy much of our food supply and severely reduce access to clean water, but the Prime Minister has spent a decade denying climate change is an issue.