Jun 26, 2007

Transcript: Labor’s National Rainwater/Greywater Plan; Indigenous issues

Transcript of Doorstop – Parliament House, Canberra

Subject: Labor’s National Rainwater/Greywater Plan; Indigenous issues

26 June 2007

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Labor yesterday announced our National Rainwater/Greywater Plan. It’s the latest instalment in our plan to address Australia’s urban water crisis.

Australia needs a national urban water strategy with leadership from the Commonwealth working with the States and local water authorities.

This will provide a subsidy of $500 from the Commonwealth on top of existing subsidies for households to either get a rainwater tank or get a third greywater pipe fitted for their house. We know that Australians want to do their bit to save water and what Federal Labor is committed to doing is giving them the means in order to do so.

JOURNALIST: Is this something you’re doing at your place?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: In terms of rain water tanks I have two. I know that Malcolm Turnbull has more than that but I’d suggest that reflects the size of the house.

I think that all Australians want to do their bit. I’ve done my bit by getting in two rain water tanks and I think that what we need to is make sure that there is Commonwealth leadership on urban water.

When the Prime Minister announced his National Water Plan on the 25th of January he excluded the 18 million Australians who live in our cities and towns. You can’t have a National Water Plan without addressing the urban water crisis.

JOURNALIST: The Prime Minister says he is puzzled by Labor‘s response to the indigenous plan. It’s a fair call isn’t it when you look at the bipartisan support at the Federal level, but some fairly fierce opposition at the State level?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Labor’s position has been very clear. Kevin Rudd, without any notice it must be said, went into the Parliament and offered his in principle support.

We’ll obviously look at the detail but we agree with the Prime Minister that the time for action is now.

Kevin Rudd overnight met with Noel Pearson of Cape York Partnerships and he’ll be addressing a conference today in Cairns on these very issues. I think that Noel Pearson with the support of the Queensland State Government has already provided significant leadership on these indigenous issues. Clearly we need that leadership to continue.

JOURNALIST: What do you make of the State leaders’ criticism of the Prime Minister’s indigenous plan that it’s politically motivated? Alan Carpenter described it as another Tampa.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Federal Labor wants to stay positive about this. We’ve indicated our support for this. Certainly there has been some concern that perhaps it’s not as soon as it could have been.

Other Governments including the West Australian Labor Government have responded to these issues and put in place mechanisms, including special legislation, some years ago under the leadership of Geoff Gallop.

What we really need to do on these issues is to be positive. We know from the Report commissioned in the Northern Territory that young people are in danger. Young people regardless of their colour or their creed deserve the protection of governments where they know that a problem exists.

We know there is a problem. We have from the Prime Minister putting forward ideas to resolve these issues and Federal Labor wants to be positive about it because we can’t as legislators sit back and simply worry too much about some of the process issues. Australians want results, they want outcomes and that is why Kevin Rudd has been positive towards these proposals.

JOURNALIST: So should the States contribute police then?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Of course State Governments are in the best position to know whether they are able to contribute members of their respective police forces at particular times.

We know that those resources are over stretched at the federal level. That’s why Federal Labor and Kevin Rudd have committed to a plan to increase the size of the AFP by 500 police and to provide that funding for this.

If we are going to accept increased Commonwealth responsibility we need to make sure that those resources are there and that starts with increasing the size of the AFP. That’s been done after consultation with the Australian Federal Police Association and the Federal Labor Leader Kevin Rudd.