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Industry engaged in implementing detail of $10 bn water plan.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Mark Vaile MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of the Nationals

14 February 2007 023MV/2007 Joint

Joint Media Statement

The Hon Mark Vaile MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of the Nationals

Malcholm Turnbull Minister for Environment and Water Resources


Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of The Nationals Mark Vaile said today the Australian Government had agreed to continue to engage with the irrigation industry and draw on its significant expertise in the development and implementation of the $10 billion National Plan for Water Security.

Minister Vaile convened a meeting today with Environment and Water Resources Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran, representatives of Australia's peak farming organisation the National Farmers' Federation, and representatives from the irrigation industry to discuss the Coalition Government's water plan.

"We welcome the public statements of support by the National Farmers Federation and irrigators for The National Plan for Water Security, which to them represents an acceleration of the National Water Initiative," Mr Vaile said.

"A spirit of goodwill and trust which has always been part of our co-operation with irrigators was only made stronger today."

Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull said the Government recognises the irrigation industry, along with other stakeholders in rural and regional Australia, has an important contribution to make in the implementation of the $10 billion plan.

"This historic plan holds the key to a secure and sustainable water future for Australia and is important for farmers, irrigators and the environment. We will not be able to deliver the plan without the input and assistance of people right around Australia, including irrigators," Mr Turnbull said.

"We intend to build on work to date by farmers and irrigators in their water sharing plans and other

efforts they have been involved in to enhance water security in the Murray Darling Basin."

Minister Vaile said, "No amount of huffing or puffing by the peddlers of doom and gloom in the Australian Labor Party and elsewhere should distract community and industry leaders from supporting this plan.

"The biggest threat to regional irrigation economies comes from a failure on the part of the states to plan for reduced inflows due to rainfall variability, reafforestation of catchments, bushfires and climate change including higher evaporation rates.

"We want to see regional communities grow and prosper and we want to work together to implement this plan in a co-operative, open and transparent way. We are keen to ensure that all stakeholders in the basin have a voice in this process.

"Regional communities must send a clear message that they want to get on and work with the Coalition on fixing Australia's water problems because water security equals job security," Mr Vaile said.

Media Contacts

Richard Forbes ( Mr Vaile's Office ) 02 6277 7680 / 0418 273 475

Sarah Stock ( Mr Turnbull's Office ) 0404 848 186