"The Prime Minister's all-too-brief water summit today failed to deliver the outcomes needed to solve the water crisis," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.
"They shied away from making the tough decisions at a time when urgent action was sorely needed" she said.
"We cannot simply trade our way out of this problem."
"Mr Howard suggested that they would consider raining wetlands as an emergency measure to ensure town water supplies. This is unconscionable."
"They have had years of warnings of this mounting crisis and failed to act. Now they are preparing to sacrifice our environmental icons, and yet at the same time the PM arrogantly refused to discuss an end to irrigating cotton," she said.
"Where are his priorities?"
To tackle the water crisis:
- Securing supplies for towns and cities and environmental flows must be the first priority.
- Admit the system is hopelessly over-allocated and urgent reforms are needed.
- The current pace of reform is far too slow, and the National Water Initiative must be boosted and accelerated.
- Move to non-conditional acquisition of water allocations and put compulsory acquisition of allocations on the table.
- Urgent need for legislative reform and better governance arrangements.
- Boost funding for research, monitoring, modelling and adaptation strategies.
- Ensure all users are paying the real cost of water use.
- Outlaw interceptor banks and overland diversions to stop floodplain 'harvesting' (like Cubbie station). Proper legislation and regulation is the solution - not buy-back.