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Water Bill still needs work: Greens

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 13 Nov 2008

The Australian Greens today expressed concern about the Government's Commonwealth Water Act, saying there is a need for further work in the detail.

"The Greens are concerned that this legislation will not deliver the reform needed to solve the Murray-Darling water crisis," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

The Greens have outlined a number of serious shortcomings, including:

  • the need for more independence of the MDB authority;
  • the slow timetable for the development and implementation of the basin plan;
  • concerns around the definition of ‘critical human need';
  • the lack of a baseline environmental water allocation and;
  • the lack of a mechanism for monitoring and managing river health.

"The Greens believe that limited water resources within the Murray-Darling Basin should not be diverted or extracted to meet the needs of populations outside of the basin, such as the Sugarloaf Pipeline to Melbourne," she said.

"We intend to introduce amendments to this effect and are using the current committee inquiry to explore the best way to do so. We believe that water taken by the Sugarloaf Pipeline would not meet the definition of ‘critical human need' under this legislation and will be seeking to confirm this in the inquiry this evening."

"We will be pushing the Government to provide incentives and support for long-term strategies to ensure our cities are more water smart."

"The Greens will be moving amendments to the Commonwealth Water Act, to ensure the future of Australia's water is properly managed and planned effectively."

"Poor governance, inadequate legislation and lack of political will is what has created the problem in the basin. This is our chance to get it right - let's do it properly," she concluded.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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