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Federal Labor's $1 Billion National Urban Water and Desalinaton Plan.



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KEVIN RUDD MP FEDERAL LABOR LEADER ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND WATER

FEDERAL LABOR’S $1 BILLION NATIONAL URBAN WATER AND DESALINATION PLAN

A Rudd Labor Government will implement a $1 Billion National Urban Water and Desalination Plan to help secure the water supplies of Australia’s major cities.

This $1 billion plan will drive major desalination projects across Australia.

It will also support water recycling and major stormwater capturing projects nationwide.

Federal Labor’s $1 Billion National Urban Water and Desalination Plan will fund a 10% Water Tax Credit and grants for approved desalination, water recycling, and major storm water capture projects developed by the private sector, local governments, and State and Territory Governments.

Federal Labor’s 10% Water Tax Credit will ensure our National Urban Water and Desalination Plan drives up to $10 billion worth of investment in Australia’s urban water infrastructure.

This will be the biggest single Federal Government investment in urban water infrastructure in Australia’s history.

Federal Labor totally rejects statements by Treasurer Peter Costello, who said on 9 May 2007 that “meeting the urban water crisis was a job for State Governments, not the Federal Budget”.

In addition, to boost ongoing work in developing and commercialising new water technology, a Rudd Labor Government will establish a Centre of Excellence in Desalination in Perth and a Centre of Excellence in Water Recycling in Brisbane. (Perth and Brisbane are Australian leaders in these respective fields.)

Federal Labor’s $1 Billion National Urban Water and Desalination Plan will help fund the construction of major desalination, water recycling, and major storm water capture projects across Australia.

A significant increase in the capacity and scale of Australia’s urban water infrastructure is the only way to secure the water supply for our major cities and growth corridors.

Australia needs a national approach to building more desalination plants and invest more in water recycling, and storm water capture infrastructure in our major cities if we are to lock in our future water supply.

Increasing water supply, through demand and supply management by governments, businesses, and households, and accelerating water projects could help ease water restrictions and reduce price pressures over a number of years.

A National Urban Water and Desalination Plan

This investment will be used to fund a 10% Water Tax Credit for approved desalination, water recycling, and major storm water capture projects developed by the private sector, local governments, and State and Territory Governments.

Federal Labor’s 10% Water Tax Credit - capped at $100 million a project - will support up to $10 billion worth of eligible up-front capital costs for approved desalination, water recycling, and storm water capture projects.

Proposals will be considered where they clearly demonstrate the provision of additional water capacity or where they significantly bring forward construction of approved projects.

The 10% Water Tax Credit would provide support at the level of 10 per cent of eligible up-front capital costs, and would be on top of existing depreciation allowances.

Where the project proponent of a water infrastructure project is a government-owned business that does not pay Commonwealth income tax, support from Federal Labor’s $1 Billion National Urban Water and Desalination Plan will be in the form of a cash payment.

Federal Labor will require that projects supported by the $1 Billion National Urban Water and Desalination Plan maximise value for money for taxpayers:

É It will direct Infrastructure Australia to undertake an independent cost-benefit assessment of all proposals, considering criteria such as financial viability, water supply needs, contribution to water supply and other relevant economic, social and environmental impacts, and make recommendations on any grants or tax credit consistent with its value for money objective.

É The private sector, local government, and state governments will be able to submit proposals for funding assistance to Infrastructure Australia over an 18 month period till the end of June 2009.

É Proponents will be required to have regard to the development of a National Emissions Trading System and the policy outcomes following the Garnaut Review in mid 2008.

É Assessment of Local, State or Territory Government proposals will also have regard to the overall progress of the supporting State or Territory Government in implementing national water reforms.

É Projects supported must be delivered by the most cost-effective means, including through public-private partnerships.

A Rudd Labor Government will also require that projects supported under the $1 Billion National Urban Water and Desalination Plan be consistent with environmental best practice and include a commitment to being carbon neutral.

Projects supported must source 100 per cent of their energy needs from renewable sources or fully offset the carbon impact of their operations and any shortfall using nationally accredited offsets. The offsets used will be in addition to those required to meet Federal Labor’s expanded mandatory renewable energy target.

With its carbon neutral guarantee, Federal Labor recognises that securing our future water supplies is a key part of tackling climate change.

A Rudd Labor Government will call for submissions and they will be assessed independently by Infrastructure Australia.

In the transition to the full operation of the plan, existing projects may be eligible in the period to the end of 2008 if they meet the criteria of demonstrating additional water capacity or significantly bringing projects forward. All such proposals will be assessed independently by Infrastructure Australia.

Unlike the Howard Government’s lack of involvement of the Commonwealth Treasury in developing water policy, Federal Labor will consult with the Commonwealth Treasury, the Australian Taxation Office, the private sector and Infrastructure Australia in finalising the implementation and final design features of this plan.

This will ensure that Federal Labor’s Plan maximises taxpayer value and delivers the greatest benefit to the market and the community.

Boosting investment in developing and commercialising new water technology

To boost ongoing work in developing and commercialising new water technology, a Federal Labor Government will also establish a Centre of Excellence in Desalination in Perth and a Centre of Excellence in Water Recycling in Brisbane.

The Perth and Brisbane centres will be funded at $4 million each a year for five years from the Water Security Plan for Towns and Cities plan.

These two Centres of Excellence will ensure the ground breaking work on new forms of energy efficient bulk water supplies being developed in Australia are built on and the skills are kept in Australia.

The Centres of Excellence will ensure Australia is a water technology maker, not a technology taker.

The National Urban Water and Desalination Plan builds on Federal Labor’s:

É National Water Security Plan for Towns and Cities, which invests $250 million over four years to repair leaky pipes and maximise the efficiencies of our urban rainwater, stormwater and wastewater systems.

É National Rainwater/Greywater Plan, which invests $250 million over six years to offer a rebate of up to $500 for 500,000 homes to help install rainwater tanks or new piping for grey water use.

Australia’s Worsening Water Crisis

Australia is in the grip of a water crisis as a result of the worst drought in more than 100 years.

Australia’s major cities are already experiencing water shortages with storage levels falling to less than 50 per cent of their capacities. In some cases, they are as low as 20 per cent.

Families and local water authorities are doing their part through personal conservation measures and water restrictions - but it is time for fresh thinking and a new direction on Australia’s water crisis.

The Howard Government has neglected Australia’s water crisis for 11 years and resorted to blaming State and Local Authorities.

This is about tackling environmental challenges, securing and strengthening the economy and creating jobs.

That is why Federal Labor has created a national plan to help drought proof our cities in the best tradition of nation building.

QUEENSLAND 28 OCTOBER 2007

LACHLAN HARRIS 0417 592 338

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