Dec 15, 2005

Let the Murray River Flow More Freely

Let the Murray River Flow More Freely


15 December 2005

The Prime Minister has continually broken his promise to South Australians about the future of the Murray River.

In July 2004, the Prime Minister told the people of Hindmarsh:

“there is no issue long-term that is more important to many people in South Australia than to get the River Murray flowing again…there’s $500 million now which can be spent cleaning up the River Murray… we are able to see the way ahead [to]…the day when the water will flow more freely again…You deserve it, and you’ve been delivered it” (Address at Hindmarsh Community Morning Tea, 7 July 2004).

The water’s flowing a little bit more freely today, but that’s due to action by State Governments, and plenty of good rain.

Not one single drop of water has flowed into the Murray River as a result of the Howard Government’s $500 million Living Murray First Step program.

Dredging of the Murray Mouth continues 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a national disgrace that we have to use artificial means to keep the water flowing.

It is critical that the $500 million Living Murray program is turned into action on the ground. The Labor Party welcomes the recent release of water from the Hume Dam, but action also needs to be taken to release water through the Living Murray program.

The Murray Darling Basin Commission warned in September this year that the agreed target of 500 gigalitres by 2009 was unlikely to be met.

The Labor Party is committed to returning 1 500 gigalitres back into the Murray – that’s three times the volume of Sydney Harbour flowing back into the Murray each year.

The Murray River is part of our heritage, and a cornerstone of our future. It needs to be brought back to life.

Anthony Albanese and Steve Georganas MP, Federal Member for Hindmarsh, are inspecting the Murray mouth today. There will be a media conference and photo opportunity at 12.20pm at Sugars Beach, Hindmarsh Island.