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Greens Challenge Government over Northern Australia

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 8 Feb 2010

The Australian Greens have challenged the Government to commit to implementing the vision outlined in the Sustainable development in northern Australia report released today.

The Australian Greens congratulate the Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce on their Sustainable Development in Northern Australia report, saying it provides a vision for sustainable development of northern Australia based on mutual respect, respect for indigenous peoples of the north and the environment.

"This report clearly demonstrates that there are significant constraints to development of Northern Australia," said Greens Water Spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert.

"It clearly isn't the magic food bowl claimed by some, and water and land aren't unlimited. It's also clear that we need a lot more information before we even think of the sort of extensive development we've heard proposed over the years.

"It's time the ‘develop the north brigade' took note of reality and understood the constraints and possibilities in Australia's north. Hopefully the report will put paid to the belief there is unlimited water in the north - there simply isn't.

"We have a chance to get 'development' of the north right, especially by learning from the lessons of southern Australia, which has seen massive loss of biodiversity and land degradation, overuse of water resources and dispossession of Aboriginal people.

"The Taskforce points the way for a sustainable future for the north of Australia - one that must include Aboriginal people at the heart of it.

"It sets the Government a clear agenda and we call on the Commonwealth to honour the huge amount of work undertaken by this Taskforce," Senator Siewert concluded.

Media contact: Fernando de Freitas 0417 174 302

Copy of the Report:
http://www.csiro.au/resources/Northern-Australia-Sustainable-Development.html 

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