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Tuesday, 5 February 2013
Page: 108

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (18:47): I wanted to use the opportunity of the discussion which has been taking place on this bill to highlight more broadly some of the things we have not done and some of the things that we should be doing in relation to our rivers and streams and our water storage in Australia. The significance of this particular bill has been well argued by my colleagues, particularly those on this side of the chamber. I think that the Senate has been well served by discussion and the points put forward by my colleagues on the Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill which, as has been indicated, establishes a special account to acquire additional environmental water for the Murray-Darling.

What this bill shows is that there is a need for a bill like this. In the past, governments and those who have been responsible for managing our water supply within Australia have not been good at what they have done. Perhaps even over centuries—certainly over many decades—they have overallocated water and made decisions which have led to the types of difficulties we have seen in the Murray-Darling Basin now for some 20 or 30 years. It has been a problem in the Murray-Darling that governments of all persuasions have tried to address and there is not any simple answer. My colleagues talking in this debate have pointed out some real problems with the bill and the management by the current government.