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Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Page: 87


Senator FIELDING (Leader of the Family First Party) (10:38 PM) —Family First is also concerned that the lower house has not accepted the Senate’s recommendations. I will focus primarily on the north-south pipeline. There are some real problems with the pipe because the issue is pitting country folk against city folk and dividing Victorians quite strongly. I have said before that Australia really needs to start to think about water in a different way. We have water gushing out into the ocean and in another spot we put a nozzle into the salt water and, at the cost of a huge carbon footprint, turn it into fresh water. I think we need to start to think about where water is gushing out into the ocean around Australia, and has been doing so for some time, and look at distributing that water in a way that provides a surplus well in excess of the need, to make sure that we can support areas where we are short of water. I have said before that we do not have a water shortage problem but we certainly have a water distribution problem. Family First believes that the concept of piping water from Tasmania to Melbourne and even from Melbourne back up to the Goulburn Valley system would make much more sense than stealing water down from up there. That is the key to this. It is very much a shame that the lower house has not accepted the Senate’s amendments to the bill.