Jan 18, 2006

Murray River Needs 1,500 Gigalitres

Murray River Needs 1,500 Gigalitres

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

18 January 2006

Today’s release of 145 gigalitres of water back in to the Murray River by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments is an important first step in the Murray’s long road to recovery.

For months Labor has warned that not one single drop of water has flowed into the Murray as a result of the Howard Government’s $500 million Living Murray First Step program. Finally, we are seeing some tentative action by the Howard Government.

The truth is 145 gigalitres is only one tenth of what is needed to help restore the Murray back to health.

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 only thing you’ll get from the Howard Government is a trickle of water reform.

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

The Treasurer announced in December last year that the Productivity Commission will hold an inquiry into water trading, three years after all Australian Governments agreed on a framework for the National Water Initiative.

It’s time the Howard Government took water reform seriously.

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