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Wednesday, 23 August 1972
Page: 329


Senator LITTLE (Victoria) - J support the Victoria Grant (Millewa Pipelines) Bill. The Democratic Labor Party favours this type of development legislation. It would be a poor thing if we allowed these water irrigation schemes to run down and outlive their usefulness and did not modernise and replace them. Many benefits will accrue from this project. I am not an expert in this field and I do not know about the saving of two-thirds of the total quantity of water involved in this project. The water is drawn from the Murray River system and under this scheme it is to be piped rather than run in open drains. I do not know whether this will represent a serious contribution to the alleviation of the salination problem associated with the Murray River in its lower reaches, which reached almost crisis proportions only a year or so ago. There is no doubt that over the years as this scheme and others of. like character proceed they will ultimately make a very significant contribution. It is necessary that they should do so. For once it is very good to hear that a programme which, after ali, changes our environment has no opponents on the grounds of ecology or anything else. Everybody is. totally and completely in favour of the project. I, like some of my friends in the Senate and particularly Senator Cavanagh who expressed a point of view the other night,, agree that we have to watch this sudden enthusiasm for not changing the ecology and the environment. We have to see that preventing such changes does not go too far, After all, we live in a continent where,; had we not changed the environment, npt even the convicts who. were first sent here; and forced to stay would have been able to maintain themselves. i.

In this country it is necessary toremember always that it was --the changing of the natural environment as: it was when discovered by people who .came from Europe in the early days which, has made it possible for what was once almost a desert to bloom and blossom in small parts today and give us a satisfactory way of life. We must not turn ourselves against changing the environment merely for the purpose of being against it. If. we do we may go back to where bur predecessors began and that is with a. very difficult environment with which to cope. This Bill provides for the taking of. a very small step. It happens to occur in Victoria. Perhaps it can be inferred that there is some injustice between States. I do not know the procedure. F-do not know how these grants are worked out, whether they are worked on priorities of applications, urgent need, who gets in first, or whether it is fat lands or sheep for wool which one is grazing. If there is a deficiency in South Australia I hope that the Commonwealth coffers which have suddenly become a little larger in the last few weeks than we were led to believe they were will be big enough to provide South Australia with a workable scheme of a similar character which it may require.

This grant happens to go to the State' which I represent. Not only as a member of the Australian Democratic Labor Party do I express favour of this legislation but, also, as a senator from Victoria. No doubt the farmers in this area will feel great satisfaction that the Commonwealth has seen fit to include Victoria in a scheme such as this. We hope that it will be brought to fruition as quickly as possible.







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