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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 12047

Mrs MAY (6:43 PM) —I welcome the news that the Premier of Queensland has backflipped on her government’s decision to pump recycled water into Wivenhoe Dam to supplement drinking water supplies for South-East Queensland in February 2009. Labor Party polling has the Premier spooked, and rightly so. You cannot continue to ignore the will of the people and expect them to re-elect you. First, Premier Beattie promised a referendum. Then he changed his mind. Then Premier Bligh told Queenslanders they should be proud to drink recycled water. Then she changed her mind, stating: ‘There is no shame in changing your position on something when circumstances change.’ Premier Bligh has now announced recycled water will only be used as a last resort. But we cannot trust this government not to change their mind again. There must be a genuine commitment to give the people of South-East Queensland a say on their water future and hold a referendum.

Public health must be at the forefront of any debate on recycled water. Many experts point to the process not being 100 per cent fail-safe and to the possibility of human error during the treatment process. Public opinion and the Labor Party’s own polling has shown without doubt that a majority of Queenslanders are concerned about the reliability of recycled water. In particular, people have contacted my office concerned about the potential for harmful medication, viruses and hormones to slip through the treatment process. Others are worried that allergies or illness could be exacerbated by any chemicals that are not removed from the recycled water supply. People take water security seriously. The Labor Party in Queensland needs to take the people seriously and guarantee they will be given a choice on drinking recycled water, not just be told what the Premier thinks is popular when an election is around the corner. (Time expired)