Jun 15, 2005

Howard fails the test on drought and climate change

Howard fails the test on drought and climate change

MEDIA RELEASE – Anthony Albanese MP – 15 June 2005

The extended four year drought gripping Australia is the most dramatic example of climate change to hit our continent.

Experts predict Australia is going to get progressively drier over the coming century because of changes to our climate caused by greenhouse pollution.

According to climatologists, climate change will only worsen drought conditions.

Howard Government Ministers appearing at the National Farmers Federation Annual Conference this week in Canberra should explain to farmers why they are not taking strong measures to avoid dangerous climate change.

If the Howard Government was serious about tackling climate change and the causes of the drought it would ratify the Kyoto Protocol and properly engage Australia with global action to confront this global problem.

After four long years of drought, the Howard Government has taken too long to address the devastating symptoms of climate change.

We have a water crisis in Australia. The dam levels in our towns and cities and the dying Murray River are the symptoms of a national climate crisis requiring leadership from the Federal Government.

The Howard Government continues to treat the drought, water and climate change as a third rate issue. Last year they announced a $2 billion Water Fund, but $1.6 billion of that was taken from State Government funding for schools and hospitals. There was very little new funding to address the water crisis in the 2005 Budget.

The Howard Government won’t provide State Governments funding through the National Water Initiative unless they sign on to John Howard’s extreme industrial relations policy. Tying water policy to industrial relations is all about politics and not about national leadership.

When rural towns and farmers run out of water, the last thing on their minds will be the Howard Government’s ideologically driven changes to industrial relations.