Feb 12, 2007

Howard Government divided over the River Murray – again!

Howard Government divided over the River Murray – again!

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

12 February 2007

The Howard Government is divided over a key part of securing Adelaide’s water supply – the Wellington Weir.

On 12 January 2007, the Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull, stated that

“The single biggest measure in terms of creating additional water availability is the building a weir at Wellington.”

Today, prominent Liberal Member for Sturt, Christopher Pyne, criticised the Wellington Weir, saying

“I think the Wellington Weir is a band-aid solution to a much greater problem and I think the Wellington Weir has the potential to cause real damage to the lakes below the weir and to the Coorong and it concerns me that that is the solution being pursued by the State Government … I think there are other solutions.”

891 ABC Adelaide, Monday 12 February 2007

The Howard Government needs to sort out its internal divisions over water policy.

The Howard Government is divided and quite confused over its plans for South Australia and the Murray Darling Basin, and legitimate concerns exist over their commitment to help the Murray and secure Adelaide’s water supply.

The National Party’s Minister for Agriculture, Peter McGauran, has long opposed the Government buying back water entitlements to return water to the Murray.

For the last three years, Peter McGauran and Malcolm Turnbull have fought over whether the Commonwealth should buy water licences from willing sellers.

The dispute led to the absurd situation where the Government’s current tender to buy back over-allocated water is limited to “efficiency gains”.

Addressing water supply for our cities, and the over-allocation of water entitlements must be a central component of resolving our water crisis.