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Wednesday, 12 September 1984
Page: 900

Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(3.55) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

In the very few moments that remain for consideration of papers today I wish simply to say that although I have had limited opportunity to look at the report -it was not available prior to tabling-I suppose that the most stark change which was introduced by this new policy is that the Government had moved to a system of loans as against the old system of grants which applied in previous water resources programs. Quite clearly that will impact fairly considerably on the States and local authorities affected. I wanted to draw the Senate's attention to this very substantial change of direction.

There has been a great deal of concern in the water resources area because of the Government's cessation of the bicentennial water resources program upon its assumption of office. Some of the projects which were to be funded under that proposal have been picked up under alternative methods of funding, but there remain many concerns about the extent to which funding will be available for water resources programs in future. I acknowledge that there are positive aspects in the report and in the policy and that elements of it which reflect some of the recommendations of the 'Water 2000' report are important to this, the driest continent.

The emphasis on increasing the efficiency of use of existing water supply is appropriate. It is a policy which will repay careful consideration and on which the Opposition will wish to express views in due course. I think that time has expired for dealing with these matters, so I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.