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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31533


Mr SECKER (3:14 PM) —My question is addressed to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services. Would the Deputy Prime Minister advise the House of progress being made towards a national water initiative, so important to the Murray-Darling system? Why is it important that the COAG meeting reaches agreement on this issue?


Mr ANDERSON (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —I thank the member for Barker for his question. Tomorrow presents us as a nation with a historic opportunity to respond to and confirm a vast amount of work that has been done over the last 10 months in developing what I believe is the bedrock for the world's best water management framework, which is appropriate in a continent as dry as ours. If agreed to, this will give the investment certainty needed to underpin economic and environmental futures in this country. It will provide pathways for a return to sustainability in over-allocated systems. These very important objectives can happen only with the goodwill and commitment of the states in whom constitutional power for water in the state is vested. We provided the leadership necessary to make it happen. I trust that tomorrow the states will be able to ensure that they have put aside their remaining differences and we can secure this very important outcome for Australia and for future Australians. Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.