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23      Industry— Water supplies in Australian communities

Senator Urquhart, at the request of Senator McAllister and pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 446—That the Senate—

(a)              acknowledges:

(i)                    the devastating effect of drought on water supplies in Australian local communities, and

(ii)                  that the recent bushfire crisis has compounded water insecurity in affected areas;

(b)              notes that:

(i)                    the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s 2016 proposal for a second water storage facility in the southern part of the shire would add 3,000 mega litres of water storage to the region,

(ii)                  the project has support from local and state governments, with the New South Wales (NSW) State Government committing $26.3 million in October 2019,

(iii)                the Eurobodalla Shire Council has called for a $51 million commitment from the Government to build the dam, noting they will fund the rest of the $105 million project, and

(iv)                all supporting parties should ensure the project is environmentally sound;

(c)              recognises that:

(i)                    Australians and regional communities are rightly sceptical about the Government’s track record on water infrastructure and drought policy,

(ii)                  in 2013, former Prime Minister Abbott said he would build 100 dams across Australia - three terms later and in its seventh year of power, the Government has failed to fulfil its promise,

(iii)                Prime Minister Morrison was caught out for being loose with the truth in October 2019 when he claimed his government was contributing more investment in NSW dam infrastructure than they actually were, 

(iv)                more than two years after the announcement of the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Facility, not a single dollar had been spent, and

(v)                  that the Eurobodalla community has been waiting for a response from the Government since October 2019 in relation to their water storage proposal; and

(d)             calls on the Federal Government to urgently respond to the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s request for funds for the Southern Water Supply Storage project.

Statement by leave : The Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries (Senator Duniam), by leave, made a statement relating to the motion.

Question put and passed.