Water & Murray Darling Basin
04 Sep 2008
That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Climate Change and Water (Senator Wong) to a question without notice asked by me today, relating to the Murray-Darling Basin.
The Intergovernmental Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform was a much trumpeted agreement just several months ago, in fact, when the government said: ‘We are the ones that can deliver reform in the Murray-Darling Basin. We have signed this historic agreement. We got the COAG agreement signed in March and now we've got the IGA.' This was with a commitment that the reforms would be put in place by 1 November-a very ambitious agenda, I will say, but that is what they were supposed to be using their best endeavours to deliver. Now we find, from the minister's answer to my question, that the government can deliver no report on progress in delivering the reforms that were supposed to be delivered. The states and territories undertook to put through their parliaments the referral of powers to the Commonwealth government so that they could then amend the Water Act 2007 so they could put in place an authority. And what is that authority supposed to do? That authority is supposed to be delivering the basin plan. You cannot do the basin plan till you have an authority, but you cannot have an authority until the states have actually signed over and delivered those powers to the Commonwealth.
04 Sep 2008
My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Wong. My question concerns progress on the intergovernmental agreement on the Murray-Darling Basin reform and the referral of powers by state and territories required to give effect to the agreement and to establish a basin plan.
Can the minister inform the Senate how many of the states and territories of the Murray-Darling Basin have passed this enabling legislation?
How many have even drafted and introduced such legislation in time to meet the 1 November 2008 deadline, as committed to in the IGA?
Will any states or territories be able to meet this deadline and will the promised reforms of the intergovernmental agreement be in place by 1 November 2008?
03 Sep 2008
It is interesting to note that I am the only non-South Australian speaking in this debate. I hate to tell the South Australians that this is not just about them-and that comes from somebody who is deeply concerned about the lower lakes and the Coorong. We need to be looking at a whole-of-basin approach to this. I heard Senator Wong talking about the hard choices. No-one has been making these hard choices for a century. We have had state versus state, we have had states versus the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth versus the states, and unfortunately that is still happening.
03 Sep 2008
Greens volunteers have made a short film about the plight of the lower lakes, Murray mouth and Coorong in South Australia. These are now in a state of environmental disaster, because no fresh water is flowing down the Murray River. Wildlife, farmers and local communities are all suffering.
The film is part of the campaign for Greens candidate Lynton Vonow in the Mayo by-election.
27 Aug 2008
The Greens say a landmark agreement by all sides of politics to urgently investigate how to save the Coorong and lower lakes of the Murray can be a blueprint for future action by the Senate.
Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young today moved that the Rural and Regional Affairs Committee “urgently inquire into the availability of water for the Murray River’s lower lakes and Coorong regions, to save our Storm Boy country”, which was supported unanimously.
“Today we moved from talk to action to save a national icon and help Australians in need. There’s nothing Australians can’t achieve when all sides of politics work together,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
26 Aug 2008
Senator Siewert asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, upon notice, on 7 April 2008:
In regard to formation waters produced from offshore facilities:
- Can detailed information on waste waters (total produced formation waters) discharged into the ocean during 2005 and 2006 from all production platforms around the north west coast of Australia be provided, including: (a) the following Timor Sea producing platforms, feeding Darwin (off the North Kimberley Coast): Puffin, Jabiru, Challis/Cassini, Blacktip (Bonaparte Basin, close to the Kimberley Coast near Berkeley), Bayu Undan, Buffalo and Laminaria East; and (b) the following Pilbara producing platforms: Mutineer, Exeter, Hermes, Lambert, Angel, Cossack, Wanaea, Legendre North, Legendre South, Wandoo, Stag, North Rankin, Perseus, Echo/Yodel, Goodwyn South/Pueblo, John Brookes, East Spar, Woollybutt, Chinook/Scindian, Griffin, Yammaderry, Cowle, Crest, Saladin, Skate, Roller, Novara, Enfield, Vincent, Eskdale, Skybarrow, Campbell, Wonnich, Endymion/Sinbad, Bambra, Linda, Harriet/Gudrun, Lee/Rose, North Alkimos, Agincourt, Gipsy, Monet/Simpson/Tanami, S. Plato, Little Sandy/Pedirka/North Pedirka/Hoover, Victoria and Double Island?
- What is the total volume of waste water discharged per year?
- What is the breakdown and concentration, in milligrams per litre, of heavy metal pollution index (HPI) substances in the formation water?
- What mass of HPI substances, in kilograms per year, was emitted from each platform listed in paragraph (1) during 2005 and 2006?
25 Aug 2008
The Australian Greens today outlined their vision for Australia in the new century ahead of the opening of the Balance-of-Power Senate.
Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, said a record 1.17 million people voted Greens at the last election, and the five Greens Senators were ready to work constructively with all parties to respond to the challenges of the new century.
"Pollution, poverty, discrimination and the destruction of Australia's forests and precious environments are the legacy of the last century and decades of greed and inaction."
"The Greens' role, beginning with this new Parliament, is to begin delivering an Australia that was cleaner, fairer and saner."
In the new Senate, the Rudd government will need seven extra votes from either the Greens, the two independent Senators, or the Coalition, for legislation to pass.
Senator Brown said the immediate priority for the Greens was to put discussion of human values that respected the environment at the centre of Australian politics - especially policies that would deliver immediate planet-saving action on reversing climate change and protecting forests, and those which created a more caring, giving, peaceful and dignified Australian society.
"The Greens are about re-creating Australia for the new century, street by street, community by community, city by city."
Overview of Greens' policy Agenda for New Senate
A sustainable Australian economy, based on building zero-emissions infrastructure - The Greens will continue to champion a meaningful Emissions Trading Scheme, as one tool of many, for tackling Climate Change.
Save the Coorong Senate Inquiry - Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and the Greens will move for an immediate Senate inquiry to save the Coorong and lower Murray River, as part of action for a thorough legislative overhaul of the governance and management of the entire Murray-Darling system.
Protecting native forests by ending wood-chipping of old-growth forests - this measure alone could reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by more than ten per cent, according to Australian Greenhouse Office data.
Senator Christine Milne's New renewable energy gross Feed-in laws - Householders, farmers and industry will be encouraged to convert to renewable energy and also make money from the energy they sell to the electricity grid. Thousands of jobs can be created by rolling out roof-top solar panels, solar thermal power stations, wind turbines as well as other measures.
Senator Rachel Siewert's amendment to restore the Racial Discrimination Act - removing the exemption the Howard Government gave itself when it intervened in the Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.
Promote a discrimination-free Australian society, including removal of discrimination on the basis of sexuality from all statutes, including the Australian Marriage Act.
Increase the quality of life for Australia's 1.2m. pensioners by immediately increasing pensions by at least $30 per week.
Fair parental leave - promote a more family-friendly Australia by encouraging the adoption of a minimum 16 months' maternity and paternity leave.
No radioactive dump in remote Aboriginal communities - Senator Scott Ludlam and the Greens will help Labor keep its election promise of repealing the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005.
More overseas aid to alleviate poverty and injustice - the Greens will argue for a significant increase in Australia's overseas aid, above the current 0.32% of GDP (2008/09 Budget).
Dignified life and death - Senator Bob Brown's Death with Dignity legislation will return the right of the elected territory assemblies in Darwin and Canberra to legislate for death with dignity for those suffering from terminal illness.
Global political, religious and human rights guaranteed - The Greens will argue at every turn for a stronger international stance by Australia to promote improvements in human rights, including support for the democracy movement in China.
Clear food labelling - The Greens will campaign for excellence in food labelling. The current laws allow confusing and too often misleading labelling. Food sold in Australia should be clearly labelled for its country of origin, its genetically modified status, its nano-particle content and its allergen content.
Sustainable communities - Shifting a portion of infrastructure funding to support sustainable communities including fast, efficient mass transit and affordable housing.
Addressing unfinished business for Indigenous Australians - Amending and re-introducing the Australian Democrat's Stolen Generation Compensation Bill.
Re-introduce fairness into Australia's building sites - introducing a Bill to
Abolish the Australia Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and repeal the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act
For more information: Russell Kelly 0438376082
21 Aug 2008
The Australian Greens today released the proposed terms of reference for an urgent Senate inquiry aimed at delivering water to the Coorong and lower lakes of the Murray River before Christmas.
16 Aug 2008
The Greens said today that the Commonwealth lacked the will and ability to enforce the Murray Darling Basin Plan when it is finally developed.
"The revelations yesterday of water agreement violations on the Paroo River must force people to question whether the Commonwealth will ever stand up to the states to enforce the Basin Plan," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
15 Aug 2008
The Australian Greens will move to set up an urgent Senate inquiry when Parliament resumes on August 26th, aimed at securing water for the Coorong and lower lakes of the Murray before Christmas, Greens Senators Bob Brown, Rachel Siewert and Sarah Hanson Young said today.