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Rudd must deliver States for water reform

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 22 Jan 2007

"We won't get true water reform until both State and Federal governments stop making short-term political decisions on water and face the fact that desperately hard decisions are needed in the face of the impacts of a drying environment and climate change," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"The last Water Summit was a joke. A few hours were spent on Melbourne Cup day hosing down public concerns, but no serious long-term commitments were made and no real outcomes have been delivered to date," she said.

"We have seen little progress since then, and the blame-game continues."

"Australia's water bureaucracy is overcomplicated, but simplifying the federal system will not solve our water crisis while Labor state governments are reluctant to make difficult decisions," said Senator Siewert.

"Ultimately what is needed is an independent body that can make decisions on water management free from the constraints of tied funding and political interference."

"With water management predominantly a state responsibility, the challenge for Mr Rudd is to get the states to move forward on solving the problems of over-allocation and complex water titles within the Murray Darling Basin," said Senator Siewert.

"If the states agree to a national model for water security the Commonwealth will be forced to play catch-up and put resources into it," she said.

"Both state and federal governments need to start taking long term planning seriously and put more resources into water conservation, demand reduction and waste water recycling," said Senator Siewert.

"Until all parties acknowledge the long-term impacts of climate change through reduced rainfall and increased evaporation on our water security our systems will remain over-allocated and our water resource planning insufficient," she concluded.

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