May 9, 2006

How about giving the Murray River a decent drink?

How about giving the Murray River a decent drink?

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

9 May 2006

After 10 long, dry years of the Howard Government, the Murray River desperately needs a drink.

It’s Peter Costello’s shout and, if Budget speculation is correct, he’s buying the Murray a shot glass of water when it needs a schooner.

The Howard Government has sat back and watched while the Murray River has been reduced to a trickle in some places.

The Howard Government promises money but no water flows from their promises.

In November 2003 the Howard Government promised to give the Murray 500 giga (billion) litres within five years. So far not a single drop has actually been returned as a result of the Living Murray First Step program.

To be “a healthy working river” the Murray River needs 1500 gigalitres more water per year. That’s the view of the Expert Review Panel appointed in 2001 by the Murray Darling Basin Commission.

Labor is committed to returning 1500 gigalitres back into the Murray River – that’s three times the volume of Sydney Harbour flowing back into the Murray each year.

If Budget speculation is correct, $500m for the Murray River is a start, but it’s not enough water, and more should be done about the causes of water problems now and for the future.

According to the CSIRO, climate change will mean rainfall in the Murray Darling basin is expected to fall by 25% and evaporation rates will rise. Think of the impact this will have on Australian agriculture, our domestic food supply and exports."

Climate change will take a lot of the water Costello is splashing around in his last minute spending spree.