Jan 25, 2007

Joint Statement – Kevin Rudd and Anthony Albanese

JOINT STATEMENT

KEVIN RUDD MP – LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

ANTHONY ALBANESE – SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND WATER

25 January 2007

Federal Labor will work on a positive, cooperative basis with Mr Howard on the national water crisis which we confront.

Labor will promote and support a national response to what is a national water crisis – that is not only restricted to the Murray-Darling Basin, but which serves the 17 million Australians that reside outside the Basin in our major cities and towns.

Labor has consistently called for Commonwealth leadership on water, a streamlining of Commonwealth bureaucracy and, in particular, for the existing $2 billion Australian Water Fund to be used on practical projects.

Labor has called for the appointment of a Minister for Water, the creation of a single Commonwealth water authority, and the commitment of more funds for water management and efficiency programs in rural Australia.

We welcome the Government’s adoption of these proposals.

More financial commitments are welcome, and Australia needs more political commitment, cooperation and better management of our precious water resources.

Labor remains concerned that after three years of promises, the majority of the existing $2 billion Australian Water Fund remains unspent by the Howard Government.

As for the rest of the package, Federal Labor will look closely at the detail of what John Howard has proposed and seek comprehensive briefings from the Commonwealth, States and Territories.

Labor believes it is in the national interest to work cooperatively, without political games, to provide solutions to our national water crisis.