Jun 27, 2005

Labor Prioritises Water Policy

Labor Prioritises Water Policy

MEDIA RELEASE – Anthony Albanese MP – 27 June 2005

I am delighted to be given the added portfolio responsibility of Water by Labor Leader Kim Beazley. The portfolio of Water will complement my work as Shadow Minister for the Environment and Heritage.

We are facing a water crisis in Australia. Just look at dam levels in our towns and cities. Just look at our dying Murray River.

The Howard Government fails to take seriously the threat of climate change to ongoing water supplies for our farmers, rural communities and our rivers. After four long years of drought, the Howard Government has taken too long to address the devastating symptoms of climate change.

The Federal Government has a critical role to play to ensure we use water efficiently and sustainably.

The Howard Government has failed to deal with water issues with an appropriate sense of urgency, allowing the COAG water reform process of 1994 to stall and failing to provide environmental flows for the Murray after nine long years.

Australia needs a long term vision for the management of rivers and water resources across Australia. This policy must meet the needs of our rivers, industries, rural and urban communities for coming generations.

The rivers and associated ecosystems of the economically important Murray-Darling Basin are a high-profile case in point. The Murray is Australia’s most important river – and it is on its last legs.

Labor remains committed to providing leadership on the Murray and the broader issue of water management.

The Government must also take strong steps to tackle climate change, which according to the scientific experts will only worsen drought conditions.