Water and Murray Darling Basin
We know how crucial the Murray Darling Basin is for Australia’s food production and economy. We support reforms that will keep the system healthy all the way up from the Murray Mouth, wind back the over-allocation of water and restore precious ecosystems so they can keep sustaining Australia.
The Greens want to see reforms that will assist all Basin communities to build their jobs and economies and restore our internationally recognised wetlands and productive agricultural areas to good health. We recognise that this is one of the key reforms facing Australia over the next decade and we have to get it right.
We support the National Water Commission as an independent authority to oversee this process, and want to see all of their functions maintained. This includes the important work they have been carrying out in assessing the National Water Initiative, in particular on water reform related to mining. The Commission has been a strong voice for the protection of water from mining related activities.
We believe that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must have the opportunity to participate in water catchment planning and management, and there should be no new large-scale dams on Australian rivers.
26 Mar 2007
The Greens will be supporting the Democrats' motion to refer the National Plan for Water Security to a committee. We believe this is an extremely important issue. The government is spending a large amount of taxpayers' money, and, as Senator Bartlett stated and as became evident in the many estimates questions that were asked, there has been no proper analysis of the costs.
21 Mar 2007
"The World Water Day theme of 'Water Scarcity' is on the mark for Australia, given that virtually all of Australia's major cities now face some level of water restrictions. Nearly all metropolitan dams are below 50% capacity from the impacts of the devastating drought, and the fact that climate change is now biting hard," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"The national water crisis has been looming for years, and is now too severe to ignore. Climate change has blown away the last vestiges of complacency."
21 Mar 2007
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Senator Eric Abetz. I draw the minister's attention to the announcement by South Australia's water minister today that, if the South Australian allocation dropped below 50 per cent next year or they could not maintain weir levels, they would be forced to cut the supply of water to a number of lakes, lagoons and wetlands. Would such an action be compatible with, and supported by, the national water plan? Given the current predictions for reduced inflows into the Murray-Darling, does the minister consider it likely that this will occur?
20 Mar 2007
News that the South Australian Government has plans to cut water flows to wetlands underlines the scale of water mismanagement throughout the Murray Darling Basin, according to Senator Rachel Siewert.
"It is inconceivable that this action is being considered on the eve of World Water Day - the Greens do not want to see wetlands killed off to support unsustainable land use practices," said Senator Siewert.
20 Mar 2007
Senator Rachel Siewert has used the occasion of World Water Day to press for alternatives to the WA Government's proposal to draw 45 billion litres of water per year out of the South West Yarragadee aquifer.
"On the basis of the evidence, I do not agree with the recent 'Sustainability Assessment' Panel's findings that the Yarragadee project is sustainable - quite the opposite," said Senator Siewert.
28 Feb 2007
I thank senators for their contributions to this very important debate. I admit I have been disappointed with the government representatives' input into the debate. It appears from Senator McGauran's input today that he did not listen to the first part of the debate yesterday-and I will come back to that in a minute.
27 Feb 2007
"Large corporate players could seriously undermine the PM's multi-billion dollar water plan," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"Financial institutions like Macquarie Bank and Timbercorp are apparently holding large amounts of water allocations they bought up under the now-defunct MIS managed investment schemes," she said.
26 Feb 2007
The Greens also support a reference of this type to the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport but not for the reasons that Senator O'Brien outlined. We have concerns similar to Senator Murray's in that we fail to see why the government has taken action on non-forestry activities but not forestry activities. We would like to examine that for a start. We would also like to look at the impact that managed investment schemes have had on the agricultural economy and on decision making in agricultural areas, and how MISs at present are in fact affecting and distorting prices for water and land-and I will come back to the issue of water in a minute.
22 Feb 2007
"The Premiers have missed an important opportunity to get our water management right," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"While the political pressure for a decision is intense, sustainable water resources and climate change are the biggest environmental challenges of our generation."
18 Feb 2007
The Greens have urged all sides of the water debate to take a deep breath before committing the country to a continuation of the same mistakes that have created the national water crisis.
"Premier Beattie has exhumed an idea which should just stay buried - that of diverting tropical rivers to feed southern agricultural projects. Premier Beattie should note that a similar idea probably cost the Western Australian Coalition opposition any chance of winning the last state election in 2004," said Senator Rachel Siewert.