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Victoria: Opposition Leader promises $400 million for a desalination plant if elected.

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Monday 13 November 2006

Victoria: Opposition Leader promises $400 million for a desalination plant if elected


TONY EASTLEY: Water is shaping up as one of the biggest issues in the Victorian election campaign. 


And yesterday, at his official campaign launch, Liberal leader Ted Baillieu promised to build Melbourne a $400-million water desalination plant if he's elected. 


Mr Baillieu is facing an uphill battle to win the poll, with the Liberals needing to pick up 28 seats to govern in its own right. 


Mr Baillieu was helped at the launch by the Prime Minister, John Howard. 


Samantha Donovan reports. 


JOHN HOWARD: Steve Bracks is like all Labor premiers, he's all claim and no responsibility. 


Let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, the name of the Victorian responsible for the economic strength of this state is not Bracks. It's Costello. 


(sound of applause) 


SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Taking to the stage, the Victorian Liberal leader, Ted Baillieu, said Labor had wasted its seven years in government. 


He accused it of not doing enough to prevent the current water crisis. Among his campaign promises is a plan to build a new dam in Melbourne's west. 


And at yesterday's launch, Mr Baillieu also promised a water desalination plant for Melbourne, similar to one about to start up in Western Australia. 


TED BAILLIEU: The technology's available, it's proven, we can do it here on a world scale, and we will. 


SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Mr Baillieu said the plant will cost about $400-million to build and about $20-million a year to operate. 


He proposes that the project would be funded by State Government and water authorities, with about a third of the funding to be requested from the Federal Government. 


Mr Baillieu also named climate change as another top priority. 


TED BAILLIEU: A Liberal government will establish a Victorian greenhouse gas reduction fund. That fund will redirect brown coal royalties, using a model similar to the federal fund. 


TONY EASTLEY: Ted Baillieu at his campaign launch in Melbourne yesterday. Samantha Donovan with that report.