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Thursday, 21 February 2008
Page: 1153

Dr STONE (2:27 PM) —My question is also to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts. Will the minister guarantee that no funds from the National Water Initiative will be diverted to a pipeline taking water from the Murray-Darling Basin to Melbourne?

Mr GARRETT (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts) —I thank the member for her question. I want to make it clear to the member that the government are not standing here making guarantees in response to speculative questions that the member puts to us in the House. I also want to make it clear—

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —Order! The question has been asked. The minister is answering.

Mr GARRETT —I also want to make it clear that the government has a concrete policy position in place to deal with the issue of delivery of water: the National Water Initiative, which is bringing forward $400 million in terms of water delivery. Furthermore, the government is recognising something that the former government was unable to—that is, the profound connections between climate change, water and drought in the Australian community.