Nov 9, 2006

Transcript of Doorstop – QLD Govt. Eastern Corridor Recycled Water Scheme

TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP, MULBEAM PARK, BRISBANE

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION – THE HON KIM C BEAZLEY MP and

ANTHONY ALBANESE MP – SHADOW MINISTER FOR WATER

9 NOVEMBER 2006

E & O E – PROOF ONLY

Subject: Water

BEAZLEY: Now, the second announcement I’m going to make today concerns the proposed western region corridor recycle system that the Queensland Government has put to the Australian Government for some considerable time as a project that they would desire and they believe is essential.

We are prepared to commit up to $500 million from that $2 billion fund to ensure this project goes ahead. The Labor Party has committed to a target by 2015 of 30 per cent recycled water as part of the water supplies of this nation. This is all of a piece, of course, with that.

The Queensland Government is sitting down, like most of the State Governments, seriously thinking through how they deal with the chronic water problems of this nation and this is their lead proposition and we should be, as a Commonwealth, totally supportive of this.

So, I’ll announce today of that $2 billion fund, we are prepared to commit up to $500 million to make sure this Queensland project works.

I’ll now ask Anthony to say a word or two and then you can jump in.

ALBANESE: South East Queensland is getting 60,000 new people migrate to it every year and we have to address the water crisis in all of our cities, as well as in our regional towns, and our rural communities. There’s no more important project than the western corridor recycling project being put forward by the Queensland Labor Government.

They’ve put forward a scheme, the total cost of which would be $1.7 billion. What that scheme would do would free up more than 200 megalitres per day for Queensland households.

It’s just three days since the Howard Government had its crisis summit in Canberra over water. One would think that they hadn’t been in government for 10 years, 10 long years of inaction, and they forgot to invite Queensland to that summit. It was only after the intervention of the Premier that they received an invitation, which is extraordinary, given that the head waters of the Murray-Darling, of course begin here in Queensland.

What we head with the Australian Water Fund and the issue of water is no more inaction, no more delay, no more procrastination. But what we have from the Government that’s holding onto $2 billion in a fund, is a lack of action on the ground. I think Australians expect a bit more than just meetings and that’s why Federal Labor’s making this announcement today.

JOURNALIST: On the question of the recycled water pipeline, do you see that water as being solely for industry use?

BEAZLEY: As I understand, the bulk of it is to be utilised for market gardens and industrial usages, yes, so it is being contemplated, not in the context of drinking. I think over time we do need to focus sufficient levels of quality in recycling activity so that we can meet European-style standards on drinking water. But, I’m not sure that that is what is intended for this particular project. This project, as I understand it, is basically industrialised and agricultural.