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Bruce Scott column [commenting on drought situation].

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5 June 2003

Bruce Scott column

As Australia endures one of the worst droughts in our nation’s history we are all looking for certainty of water supply for farmers and businesses in regional and rural communities.

For five years, Darling Downs irrigators under the banner Vision 2000 have remained focused on achieving their aim to bring Brisbane’s wastewater to Lockyer Valley and the Darling Downs. The Federal Government has been closely involved with this initiative, funding part of the feasibility study.

I this week reinforced my support for the valuable water-recycling project, speaking in the Federal Parliament on the need to renew Government’s focus on nation building projects such as the South East Queensland Recycled Water scheme.

Recycling water has great environmental benefits, while economically it can only be positive for everyone involved. The South East Queensland Recycled Water Project has the potential to secure guaranteed reliability of supply to irrigators on the Darling Downs and provide water for other industrial projects.

The Dalby and Wambo Shire Councils are working with business groups to establish an ethanol Plant and Pork Abattoir. These projects are examples of businesses which both require security of water.

While studies undertaken by the South East Queensland Organisation of Councils (SEQROC) have revealed there are some concerns the project may be unviable, I believe quite the contrary.

There is a very substantial market for water and under the South East Queensland Recycled Water Project we have a commercial outcome for council, reliable water for users - delivering water to farmers and industry at a price they can afford.

With the project launching into its commercial phase, representative group NuWater is confident the estimated $400 million in costs will be met.

I am sure many would agree when I say our country’s water resources can be used more efficiently. As the Federal Member for Maranoa, I am proud to continue working alongside Vision 2000 to help achieve sustainable water supply for the Darling Downs.