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Rudd over-rides Senate to give green light to pipeline.

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Media Release The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water Monday, 1 December 2008 Rudd Over-Rides Senate to Give Green Light to Pipeline The Rudd Government tonight voted down Coalition efforts to block the controversial North-South pipeline in Victoria. After tonight, Mr Rudd owns the pipeline. He has used his numbers to over-ride the Senate and give a green light to the project. The pipeline will divert at least 75 billion litres of water a year from the parched Murray-Darling. Last week the Senate voted to support a Coalition amendment to the Water Act that would have prevented work on the pipeline and save water from being drained from the Goulburn River. But tonight Peter Garrett led the Government charge to defend the North-South pipeline. We had a bizarre situation of the Environment Minister defending an act of environmental vandalism. Soon we’ll have billions of litres of Murray water gushing down Kevin’s pipeline. This summer as we see and hear stories of a struggling Murray system we will remember that it was Kevin Rudd, Penny Wong and Peter Garrett who voted to divert water away from the Murray. Only days after Water Minister Penny Wong released a new CSIRO study which warned of declining flows into the Murray-Darling, she supported plans to divert more water away from the Murray Basin. While Senator Wong spends millions of dollars to buy up water licences along the Murray Basin, she then supports the diversion of water away from the same system to send it down to Melbourne. Today was also dark day for the struggling farmers and other residents of the Murray Lower Lakes. On a day when South Australian River Murray Minister Karlene Maywald sought approval to flood the Lower Lakes with salt water, the Federal Government voted down the Coalition’s $50 million package to help the people of the Lower Lakes to deal with the crippling shortage of water in their area. Today’s move by Minister Maywald just goes to confirm what a dire situation the Lower Lakes is in. To vote down the assistance package is rubbing salt into the wounds of the Lower Lake community. The Rudd Government has given a green light to the North-South pipeline and a red light to the $50 million Murray Lower Lakes assistance package. This is a dark day indeed.