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Democrats urban water policy provides solutions to a national issue.



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Media Statement Tuesday 23rd October 2007

SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT Queensland Democrat Senator QUEENSLAND’S ONLY INDEPENDENT VOICE IN THE SENATE

Democrats urban water policy provides solutions to a national issue

Queensland Democrat Senator and environment spokesperson, Senator Andrew Bartlett, says the party’s urban water policy, officially launched today, highlights the need for a more rational, national approach to improving water usage and harvesting in urban areas.

“It is very obvious that most state governments have failed badly when it comes to urban water policy and infrastructure, not least in my own state of Queensland,” Senator Bartlett said.

“Basic science and economics have been ignored for short-term politics. Nowhere is this more obvious than the state government’s blind insistence on building highly expensive, hugely destructive dams despite them being clearly less reliable as a water source than many other options.”

“The Democrats are calling for an integrated, strategic National Urban Water Policy, informed by a national accounting program for water use, underpinned by agreed targets and the use of the most economically and environmentally efficient methods.”

“Only a small percentage of urban rainfall is captured, yet we have some of the highest levels of residential water use and low water prices,” Senator Bartlett said.

Senator Bartlett said other features of a common sense national policy on urban water include:

� National funding to expand full recycling of residential water - the lack of courage to back recycling in Toowoomba and the belated and still incomplete adoption of recycling by the Queensland government shows the need for national leadership on this issue. � Fund more generous rebate programs to speed up retro-fitting of water saving plumbing devices,

rainwater tanks and grey-water systems. � Use reform of urban water pricing, combined with direct capital injections, to fund major public investment in water infrastructure, including widespread use of stormwater capture and small scale

localised treatment works. � Withholding federal funds through the National Water Initiative to states which persist in pursuing inefficient, expensive and destructive measures like new dams.

The urban water policy can be found here: http://www.democrats.org.au/docs/ActionPlans/Environment_UrbanWater_2007.pdf

Media contact - Tracee McPate - 0417 607 655 Electoral office: Suite 14 B1, 7/421 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley, QLD 4006 t: 07 3252 7101 local call cost (Qld): 1300 301 879 f: 07 3252 8957 e: senator.bartlett@aph.gov.au web: www.andrewbartlett.com