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Wednesday, 8 December 2004
Page: 31


Senator BROWN (11:47 AM) —Last night there were 20 major programs that the Prime Minister wanted to get going. Today there are not any specified at all. Of course we are all in favour of the recycling of water. But we have to keep very much in mind that eight per cent of the water in the Murray-Darling Basin is used for residential and commercial purposes and 70 per cent is used by the irrigators, and that is what the government does not like to look at. Get all the community groups going and doing their bit, use that motivation, but do not touch those big commercial operators unless you give them taxpayer funded compensation! This is the typical `greenwash': let us show people—the schoolkids included—doing good things. It is part of a good education system to showcase up front the failure of activity down back, where it really matters. The friends of the government—the friends of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and other ministers—do not want their commercial activities assessed as infringements of the environmental laws of the Murray-Darling system and in need of urgent review. Can the minister tell the committee when the 500 gigalitres will be returned to the Murray?