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Pipeline duplication a dire prediction for our water future.

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THE HON DR SHARMAN STONE MP Federal Member for Murray Shadow Minister for Environment, Heritage, the Arts and Indigenous Affairs


Tuesday 29th April 2008

Pipeline Duplication A Dire Prediction For Our Water Future

“An announcement by Coliban Water that sections of the Eppalock to Bendigo pipeline are to be duplicated is a dire warning for the future of the North-South Pipeline,” Federal Member for Murray, Dr Sharman Stone said.

“The project has been brought forward from its intended 2020 date, because of extra flow requirements of the Goldfields Superpipe.”

“Investigations into the environmental impacts of this duplication pipeline are reported to have already been completed, but few have seen or heard of this work.”

“What guarantees do we have that Victorian Water Minister Tim Holding and Victorian Premier Mr Brumby won’t do the same thing and duplicate the North-South Pipeline to take more water out of the already drastically depleted Murray Darling Basin? The easement is already particularly generous.”

“The Victorian Auditor-General’s report highlighted the Victorian Government’s inadequacy in providing information to the community about the water plan, its lack of rigour, as well as the ongoing lack of public consultation.”

“Just recently we’ve seen even more evidence of Minister Holding’s refusal to disclose documents from the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) about the Foodbowl Modernisation project.”

“There was also the leaked memo from Goulburn-Murray Water acting Managing Director, David Stewart, warning staff not to disclose any information to opposition members without first checking with the Minister’s office.”

“None of this evidence instils any confidence in what other plans the Victorian Government has to take precious water out of the Goulburn River, especially after maintaining the authority to make river flow decisions for the Goulburn as a condition of signing up to the $10 billion Federal Water Initiative agreement.”

“Mr Brumby must also look into recycling and harvesting Melbourne’s storm water, and not take one drop of water out of the drought stressed Murray Darling Basin catchments.”

“The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act compliance has still not been reported on in connection with the North-South Pipeline. This is already a narrow study however.”

Dr Sharman Stone said she will be applying to Mr Garrett, Minister for Environment, to insist that he now also require the enlarged Bendigo pipeline be subjected to the EPBC Act.

Further Media Enquiries: Dr Sharman Stone’s Office - Inga Norgrove 0417 148 110