Jan 23, 2007

Malcolm in the muddle

Malcolm in the muddle


23 January 2007

Federal Government water policy has been muddled for over 10 years and we now have Malcolm in the muddle.

Federal Government water programs are a tangled web of bureaucracy which is failing to deliver.

Lack of coherence in Federal Government water programs means there is more red tape than water going into the Murray.

John Howard has thrown Malcolm Turnbull into the muddle, hoping he can quickly deliver a coherent Commonwealth water policy in the lead up to the election.

Australia needs a plan to promote water supply, not just a plan to promote Malcolm Turnbull.

Now he is a Minister, Malcolm Turnbull must take responsibility for the failure to provide national leadership, not just do photo opportunities and blame the States.

Labor appointed a Cabinet level Shadow Minister for Water more than 18 months ago, and we welcome the belated appointment of a Minister for Water.

A Rudd Labor Government will have a Cabinet level Minister for Water and will take action to get the National Water Initiative out of its bureaucratic swamp.

The ongoing dispute between Peter McGauran and Malcolm Turnbull over whether the Commonwealth should buy water licences from willing sellers has not been resolved. The dispute has led to the absurd situation where the current tender to buy back over-allocated water is limited to “efficiency gains”.

The lack of spending from the Federal Government’s $2 billion Australian Water Fund remains unresolved.