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Thursday, 27 November 2008
Page: 7457


Senator FISHER (10:15 AM) —I support the comments of my colleagues Senators Nash and Birmingham and also many of the sentiments put by Senator Hanson-Young. The state of the Lower Lakes and Coorong in South Australia has now been well documented and I think is recognised, as it needs to be. I recognise that there are measures in progress to provide some assistance for the Coorong and the Lower Lakes. The trouble is that it is becoming too little and we fear that it will be too late. These initiatives need to be progressed more quickly and, pending progress of those initiatives, the opposition sees the need for the sorts of measures outlined in this amendment.

It is very good that the South Australian government, particularly Minister Maywald, in the last couple of days has been able to announce the pumping into Lake Bonney in the Riverland in South Australia of 10 gigalitres of water over the next two months, designed to stop Lake Bonney from becoming acidic and in particular to save, for example, the Murray cod, which are attempting to continue to inhabit Lake Bonney. It is very good that the state government and the federal government through national initiatives have found a way to find 10 gigalitres of water to pump into Lake Bonney in the Riverland in South Australia in the next two months. However, I do note that through the recent Senate committee process coalition senators and others, including the Greens and Independents, were cognisant of evidence given to that inquiry that 30 to 60 gigalitres would be very prudent at the very least in respect of Coorong and the Lower Lakes. So it is very pleasing that state and federal governments through a national system have found a way to secure 10 gigalitres to be pumped into Lake Bonney in the next two months. It does raise a question as to when the same mechanism will be able to deliver 30 to 50 gigalitres required to help Coorong and the Lower Lakes.