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Murray-Darling Basin reform

My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Wong. My question concerns progress on the intergovernmental agreement on the Murray-Darling Basin reform and the referral of powers by state and territories required to give effect to the agreement and to establish a basin plan.

Can the minister inform the Senate how many of the states and territories of the Murray-Darling Basin have passed this enabling legislation?

How many have even drafted and introduced such legislation in time to meet the 1 November 2008 deadline, as committed to in the IGA?

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Murray Darling Basin

It is interesting to note that I am the only non-South Australian speaking in this debate. I hate to tell the South Australians that this is not just about them-and that comes from somebody who is deeply concerned about the lower lakes and the Coorong. We need to be looking at a whole-of-basin approach to this. I heard Senator Wong talking about the hard choices. No-one has been making these hard choices for a century. We have had state versus state, we have had states versus the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth versus the states, and unfortunately that is still happening. Hard choices!

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Senate supports Save the Coorong inquiry

The Greens say a landmark agreement by all sides of politics to urgently investigate how to save the Coorong and lower lakes of the Murray can be a blueprint for future action by the Senate.

Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young today moved that the Rural and Regional Affairs Committee “urgently inquire into the availability of water for the Murray River’s lower lakes and Coorong regions, to save our Storm Boy country”, which was supported unanimously.

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Greens ‘New Century’ Australia Senate Agenda

The Australian Greens today outlined their vision for Australia in the new century ahead of the opening of the Balance-of-Power Senate.

Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, said a record 1.17 million people voted Greens at the last election, and the five Greens Senators were ready to work constructively with all parties to respond to the challenges of the new century.

"Pollution, poverty, discrimination and the destruction of Australia's forests and precious environments are the legacy of the last century and decades of greed and inaction."

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Greens release terms of reference for urgent ‘Save the Coorong' Senate inquiry

The Australian Greens today released the proposed terms of reference for an urgent Senate inquiry aimed at delivering water to the Coorong and lower lakes of the Murray River before Christmas.

"Water Minister Penny Wong has given up - but Prime Minister Kevin Rudd must not. Immediate action is what is required to give the Coorong a drink before Christmas," Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said, speaking at the mouth of the Murray today.

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Government exposed in Paroo River developments

The Greens said today that the Commonwealth lacked the will and ability to enforce the Murray Darling Basin Plan when it is finally developed.

"The revelations yesterday of water agreement violations on the Paroo River must force people to question whether the Commonwealth will ever stand up to the states to enforce the Basin Plan," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

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Urgent Senate Action to Save Murray

The Australian Greens will move to set up an urgent Senate inquiry when Parliament resumes on August 26th, aimed at securing water for the Coorong and lower lakes of the Murray before Christmas, Greens Senators Bob Brown, Rachel Siewert and Sarah Hanson Young said today.

“The Coorong and lower lakes need a drink before Christmas. The water is there but the political will isn’t. When Governments fail to act, the people, through the Senate, must provide action,” Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Canberra today.

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Warning bells on the Murray did not go unheeded - Greens

"The environmental destruction of the Coorong is a tragedy that did not need to happen," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"The drastic decline of these internationally significant wetlands could have been prevented if either of our Environment Ministers had acted in a timely and sensible fashion."

A 2006 report on the dire state of the Coorong did not go unheeded by the Senate, which backed the Greens in calling for an urgent review of the management of Australia's 64 Ramsar listed wetlands.

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