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Government changes heart on water recycling

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 28 Nov 2006

The Greens today repeated their call for the Government to fund a full-scale water recycling plant as part of a community education campaign on the science and safety of recycling.

"The government has not been genuinely interested in water recycling, as was evidenced by the fiasco in Toowoomba, where their actions forced the politicisation of the issue and led to a doomed referendum," said Senator Siewert today.

"As long-term advocates of recycling, we are pleased that Mr Turnbull and the Prime Minister are now indicating that they will give greater support to recycling, but it is disingenuous of them to imply they have always been behind it," she said.

The government rejected a call by the Greens in August to fund a full-scale demonstration water recycling plant producing high quality water.

"Under the National Water Initiative the government has $170 million of discretionary funds which it can allocate at any time. It could have funded a recycling plant in Toowoomba and used the water for other purposes while it won community support for its connection to their water supply," she said.

"Substituting water for industry and agriculture would have freed up more water for the town supplies in the meantime, while giving the community a chance to see how the process of water recycling and purification works in a practical, hands-on way," she said.

"The best way to do this is to build a functioning plant. This was what Toowoomba's Mayor, Di Thornley was calling for from the very beginning." "Australians want to know that their water supplies are safe, secure and sustainable."

"They need to be given the time to weigh up all the options so they can make rational decisions about their future water security."

"Our decisions about water security need to be based on science, not misinformation and fear-mongering, we need a full scale plant to demonstrate the science of water recycling," concluded Senator Siewert.

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