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Rann is on the right track on water

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 1 Feb 2007

Senator Rachel Siewert today welcomed calls by SA Premier Mike Rann for an independent authority to manage water reform in the Murray Darling Basin.

"A truly independent decision-making body free from political interference is the key to achieving effective water reform and delivering long-term water security," said Senator Siewert.

The Greens have been calling for the establishment of such an independent authority since last year. Premier Rann's comments echo the model being proposed by SA water expert Wentworth group scientist Professor Mike Young.

"Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran's comments over the weekend highlight the need for a truly independent authority – as it is clear that tackling the issue of over-allocation is going to be politically challenging for the Coalition, the National Party are already backing away from the need to buy back water licences," she said.

"An independent authority would able to make the difficult decisions needed to tackle over-allocation, ensure the effective functioning of the water market, and ensure that water racketeering doesn't occur - in the same way the Reserve Bank independently sets interest rates," said Senator Siewert.

"We need to see a change in the decision-making process - a joint Commonwealth / State approach that removes decision-making from the political process and fosters a culture of planning for long-term sustainability," she concluded.

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