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$4.6 million Labor plan to secure water supply and revitalise the Fish River.



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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE Anthony Albanese MP Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Water Manager of Opposition Business

Bob Debus Labor candidate for Macquarie

$4.6 million Labor plan to secure water supply and revitalise the Fish River

Labor candidate for Macquarie Bob Debus today announced $4.6 million towards an integrated water plan for the Lithgow and Oberon areas that will help drought-proof local towns and industry, and relieve pressure on the Fish River.

Mr Debus and Anthony Albanese, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Water, were in Lithgow and Oberon today to announce that a Rudd Labor Government will contribute up to $4.6 million to help fund the Lithgow City Council and Oberon Councils with plans to:

- Upgrade the Clarence Water Transfer System, - Supply Lithgow Golf Club with recycled water from the Lithgow Sewerage Treatment Plant, and - Supply the Oberon Timber Complex with recycled water from the Oberon

sewerage treatment plant.

“This will help secure our future with the smart use of water by saving more than four billion litres currently taken from the Fish River every year,” said Mr Debus.

“That’s a huge amount of water, and these projects will boost flows into the Fish River which then flows into the Macquarie River and the Murray Darling Basin.

“Governments need to invest in innovative water projects that maximise our limited water resources.”

Together these three important local water projects will:

• Integrate existing schemes for water supply and treatment, sewage treatment and mine discharge, • Secure household water supplies, • Help with drought protection,

• Improve the quality of water going into the Sydney catchment, • Relieve the stressed Fish River, and • Protect jobs because water is guaranteed for vital local industries..

Mr Albanese said one of the primary aims of Labor’s water security policies is to relieve the pressure on water systems like the Fish River, which are critical for the Macquarie River and the Murray Darling Basin.

“It is very worrying that the Fish River reservoir has operated at less than 20 per cent capacity recently,” said Mr Albanese.

“The Fish River also supplies water to Oberon. Residents will be greatly relieved to know their household water supplies will be more secure when these schemes are in place.

“These projects make environmental and financial sense for working families by relieving pressure on the Fish River supply and better securing the electricity industry from drought.”

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

For further information/comment: Antony Sachs (Albanese) 0417 493 485 Brenda Finlayson (Debus) 0438 507 260

BACKGROUND ON THE WATER SAVING PROJECTS

$4 million to upgrade water transfer system from Clarence Colliery

A Rudd Labor Government will contribute up to $4 million from the $10 billion National Plan for Water Security to upgrade the Clarence Colliery water transfer system.

This is a major water efficiency project to take pressure off the Fish River, which flows into the Macquarie River and the Murray Darling Basin.

The project will reduce Delta Electricity’s reliance on the Fish River by transferring an extra 10 million litres per day of recycled water from the Clarence Colliery to Delta. This will boost the amount of Clarence Colliery water that is re-used from 5 million to 15 million litres per day, improving the health of the Wollangambie River by reducing the flow of untreated mine water from the colliery into the river.

This will mean Delta will use more recycled water and take less from the Fish River, making more water available to Oberon residents and increasing flows in the Murray Darling Basin by up to 3.6 billion litres each year.

Labor will negotiate with Lithgow City Council and Delta Electricity to ensure this project proceeds as quickly as possible.

$350,000 to transfer of 20ML per year of treated effluent to Lithgow Golf Club

A Rudd Labor Government will contribute up to $350,000 from Labor’s National Water Security Plan for Towns and Cities initiative to transfer treated effluent from the Lithgow sewerage treatment plant to the Lithgow Golf Club.

The project would save 20 million litres a year in potable water and end the discharge of treated water into the Sydney water supply.

Total cost of the Lithgow City Council project is $700,000.

$250,000 for Oberon Council’s water reuse scheme

A Rudd Labor Government will contribute up to $250,000 from the National Plan for Water Security towards Oberon Council’s water reuse scheme to supply the timber mill with recycled water from the town's sewerage treatment plant.

The project will supply the timber complex with up to 1 million litres of recycled water each day from the Oberon sewerage treatment plant, relieving pressure on the Fish River, which flows into the Macquarie River and the Murray Darling Basin. .

The $1 million project is being finalised by Oberon Council and timber companies and funding is also being provided by the NSW Government.

Around half of water demand in Oberon is industrial and the timber complex is the largest user. Reducing its reliance on the Fish River makes more water available to Oberon residents and should increase flows by up to 360 million litres in the Murray Darling Basin each year.