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Where is the missing $6 billion in water infrastructure works?

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Media Release The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water Monday, 20 October 2008 Where is the Missing $6 Billion in Water Infrastructure Works? If the Government wants to be taken seriously on infrastructure it should unlock the $6 billion for water infrastructure set aside by the Coalition Government. The Rudd Government has been sitting on this nest egg for the better part of the last year while farmers and the environment struggle with the ongoing drought in the Murray-Darling Basin. The Government’s solution to trying to fix the crisis in the Murray-Darling revolves around an ad hoc purchasing of properties. And according to today’s media reports, it doesn’t matter if the Minister knows who owns them or not before they spend millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money buying them. Cherry-picking farms for sale is easy to do. But what is needed is a comprehensive program of infrastructure works to deliver water-efficiency savings. We need water infrastructure works to deliver water savings for both farmers and for the river environment. It’s all very well for the Government to talk about fast-tracking small infrastructure projects like roads and bridges to bolster activity but there is no sign of the urgently-needed water infrastructure works. I am today calling on the Rudd Government to set out an express, clear and absolute timetable in relation to water savings from infrastructure investments. How many megalitres of water will be saved - and when? Australian farmers, rural communities and people worried about the environment deserve to know when the infrastructure works will be carried out. What is needed for the Murray-Darling is action, not empty promises.