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National water security

The Greens will be supporting the Democrats' motion to refer the National Plan for Water Security to a committee. We believe this is an extremely important issue. The government is spending a large amount of taxpayers' money, and, as Senator Bartlett stated and as became evident in the many estimates questions that were asked, there has been no proper analysis of the costs. During estimates when we asked for an explanation of the costs and how they were arrived at, no information could be provided-not even back-of-the-envelope estimations.

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Time for a change of direction on World Water Day

"The World Water Day theme of 'Water Scarcity' is on the mark for Australia, given that virtually all of Australia's major cities now face some level of water restrictions. Nearly all metropolitan dams are below 50% capacity from the impacts of the devastating drought, and the fact that climate change is now biting hard," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"The national water crisis has been looming for years, and is now too severe to ignore. Climate change has blown away the last vestiges of complacency."

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World Water Day: time to fund alternatives to Yarragadee

Senator Rachel Siewert has used the occasion of World Water Day to press for alternatives to the WA Government's proposal to draw 45 billion litres of water per year out of the South West Yarragadee aquifer.

"On the basis of the evidence, I do not agree with the recent 'Sustainability Assessment' Panel's findings that the Yarragadee project is sustainable - quite the opposite," said Senator Siewert.

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World Water Day: don't kill off our wetlands

News that the South Australian Government has plans to cut water flows to wetlands underlines the scale of water mismanagement throughout the Murray Darling Basin, according to Senator Rachel Siewert.

"It is inconceivable that this action is being considered on the eve of World Water Day - the Greens do not want to see wetlands killed off to support unsustainable land use practices," said Senator Siewert.

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Is Macquarie Banking on PM's water plan?

"Large corporate players could seriously undermine the PM's multi-billion dollar water plan," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"Financial institutions like Macquarie Bank and Timbercorp are apparently holding large amounts of water allocations they bought up under the now-defunct MIS managed investment schemes," she said.

"There is a real risk that these institutions may see the $3 Billion the Prime Minister has put on the table to addressing over-allocation as their saviour."

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Watered-down agreement lacks financial scrutiny

"The Premiers have missed an important opportunity to get our water management right," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"While the political pressure for a decision is intense, sustainable water resources and climate change are the biggest environmental challenges of our generation."

"Our governments need to get it right," said Senator Siewert.

"Although the Premiers and the Prime Minister agreed on a level of parliamentary scrutiny for high-level policy recommendations, the PM ruled out the same scrutiny for financial recommendations," she said.

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Howard should fund water efficiency, not Yarragadee

Senator Rachel Siewert has backed calls for the Federal Government to block WA Premier Alan Carpenter's request for funding to tap the Yarragadee aquifer.
"There is no doubt that with a $300 million kickstart from the Federal Government, Perth could be well on the way to a sustainable water future, said Senator Siewert.
"Spending these funds on the environmentally damaging Yaragadee proposal is precisely the wrong approach, since it does nothing to address our unsustainable water demands."

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Caution needed on northern water mirage

The Greens have urged all sides of the water debate to take a deep breath before committing the country to a continuation of the same mistakes that have created the national water crisis.

"Premier Beattie has exhumed an idea which should just stay buried - that of diverting tropical rivers to feed southern agricultural projects. Premier Beattie should note that a similar idea probably cost the Western Australian Coalition opposition any chance of winning the last state election in 2004," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

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