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Wednesday, 10 May 1972
Page: 2282

Mr GILES (ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Can the Minister for National Development inform me of the action the Federal Government is taking with or without consultation with the States to tackle the future problem of salinity and other pollution in the lower reaches of the River Murray? Does the Government agree with the recommendations in the recent consultants' report which dealt with action that should be taken to retain future quality in times of low rainfall in the catchment area?

Mr SWARTZ - As the honourable member knows, the River Murray Commission did undertake an investigation of this matter and arranged for some consultants to produce a report, which was received a little over a year ago and which has been widely circulated. This report deals with the question of salinity in the whole of the River Murray system which, being the largest irrigation system in Australia, is of great concern to the 3 States involved and to the Commonwealth which is engaged with the States in consideration of the matter through the River Murray Commission. Subsequent to its receipt, the report was examined very carefully by the Commission and also by the State water authorities of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. A lot of work is being done at present in examining the recommendations of the consultants. I should imagine that when the work is completed recommendations will be made through the River Murray Commission to the 4 governments concerned. We view this as a very important matter.

I am glad that the honourable member has raised this matter in the House because it concerns a large number of people in the 3 States whose industry is vitally concerned with the suitability of water quality from the River Murray system. I can assure the honourable member that everything possible will be done to overcome the problems that have been posed in the report.

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