Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Report highlights rudd is taking Australia's food security for granted.



Download PDFDownload PDF

Thu, 19th June 2008 REPORT HIGHLIGHTS RUDD IS TAKING AUSTRALIA'S FOOD SECURITY FOR GRANTED

The Hon John Cobb MP Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Water Security

A leaked report not only highlights the grave situation in the Coorong and Lower Lakes it has also put the spotlight on the calamity facing the nations food bowl.

''Some Australian's, in particular the Prime Minister and his Water Minister are very blas - about where their food comes from and have never faced severe shortages,'' the Shadow Minister for Water Security, John Cobb said today.

''Irrigation will become increasing important as climate change begins to bite and it is vital that the Rudd Government puts the nation's food security at the top of its priority list.

Mr Cobb today asked the Environment Minister Peter Garrett why the Rudd Government was supporting the Victorian Government's theft of 110 billion litres out of the Murray Darling Basin via a pipeline from the Goulburn River to Melbourne.

''Minister Garrett refused to give any commitment that he will stop the pipeline.

''How can Prime Minister Rudd support a pipeline with a capacity to pump 110 billion of water out the MDB when not only are the Lower Lakes in South Australia in crisis, but the entire MDB food bowl is again on zero water allocations this year.

''Australian's whether they are working or not are all facing escalating food prices and the ridiculous decision to take 110 billion litres out the MDB will result in a massive increase in food prices across Australia, particularly when the drought is still biting.

''Australian farmers could produce enough food to feed 6 million people a year with 110 billion litres of water

Mr Cobb said the Coalition Government's $10 billion National Plan for Water Security guaranteed the Nation's food security for future generations while also returning water to the environment and increasing water security for urban communities.

''However, it is now obvious the Rudd Government is abandoning the funding principals underpinning the $10 billion plan, and the Government's priorities will be political fixes for its State Labor mates and $3.1 billion of water entitlement buy backs,'' Mr Cobb said.

''Communities, farmers and the environment within the MDB are crying out for help - inland Australian's and the environment does not have access to desalination plants and are wholly reliant on water which falls within the MDB,'' Mr Cobb said.

Mr Cobb said couple this with the worlds' major food producing regions all being hit with climatic disasters over the past year and the ever present threat of diseases such as Avian Influenza hitting major agriculture producers, severe food shortages are a real prospect.

''Unfortunately the Rudd Government doesn't have a clue about what it is trying to achieve within the Murray Darling Basin; the Nation's Fresh Food Bowl.

''Under Rudd Government's current water policy when the drought finally breaks, MDB communities will go from a climatic drought straight in to a Rudd made drought,'' he said.

Mr Cobb said under the Labor Party already spiralling food prices will only get higher.