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Thursday, 14 November 1985
Page: 2175


Senator VIGOR(3.18) —I commend the Snowy Mountains Council for the careful management it has shown in its report for the last year. It has fulfilled its management and administrative responsibilities and it has looked closely at the management of one of our major water resources. Water is Australia's scarcest resource. South Australia, my own State, is the driest State in Australia. The River Murray supports more than 50 per cent of South Australia's water usage. The Snowy Mountains scheme has been instrumental in making both the quality and the quantity of water available to my State much better than if that scheme had not been introduced. However, it has been brought to my notice in a letter from the Mannum District Council, which wrote to me recently, that there is the opportunity for a similar scheme being taken up by the Snowy Mountains Council as an extra scheme. This would be the Clarence River hydro-electric scheme which could, in fact, result in water going back into the Murray basin. I also received a letter from the Renmark District Council in similar terms. The letter from the Mannum District Council stated:

The quality of water is also being monitored and is of concern to all South Australians.

Also the amount of water available is a major concern, particularly in drier years, when additional water flow is required to endeavour to flush high salt content from the river.

Council considers that implementations of the Clarence River Hydro-Electric Scheme would be of enormous benefit to our State.

Council seeks your support to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to commence the required investment into the project.

I use this report to bring that to the notice of the Government and to support the interests of a very active council in my State. South Australia is totally dependent on New South Wales and Victorian users of Murray River water for the final quality and supply of its water. It is very important that the management schemes be examined. I think it is also important that we consider the problems and advantages that may be involved in redirecting some of the inland waters from the northern rivers down the Murray. Problems associated with doing that are those of disease and weeds, but these may be able to be solved by modern technology. I commend this as being something which could be looked at under our water management program.

Question resolved in the affirmative.