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Truss and Kemp must lead Murray-Darling Ministers to 1500 gigalitres.

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Senator Kerry O’Brien Shadow Minister for Primary Industries

Kelvin Thomson MP Shadow Minister for Sustainability and the Environment

10 November 2003


Agriculture Minister Warren Truss and Environment Minister David Kemp must show leadership and ensure the Murray-Darling Ministerial Council meeting on Friday adopts Federal Labor’s plan to return 1500 gigalitres (GL) to the ailing River Murray.

In September this year a leaked report by the Living Murray Scientific Reference Panel revealed that returning 1500 GL of water to the River Murray in environmental flows is the minimum requirement to restore its health as a working river.

In May, Simon Crean committed a Crean Labor Government to the delivery of 1500 GL in environmental flows to the River Murray - a policy vindicated by the originally leaked and subsequently released Living Murray Scientific Reference Panel report.

Labor will: � deliver 450 GL of environmental flows within the first term of a Crean Labor Government, enough to keep the mouth of the Murray open; � make an initial capital injection of $150 million to create Labor’s Riverbank to

fund the river's restoration and; � establish an Environmental Flow Trust to manage environmental flows, because Labor knows that there is more to saving the River Murray than simply putting more water into it.

Agriculture Minister Warren Truss delayed the release of the scientific report because he knew it backed Labor's plan to restore the health of the River Murray.

Mr Truss has also attacked Labor's 1500 GL pledge despite the fact Environment Minister David Kemp has told Parliament that the Government accepts the findings of the Living Murray Scientific Reference Panel report.

Labor urges Ministers Truss and Kemp to sort out their differences and agree to support Labor's 1500 GL commitment at Friday's Ministerial Council meeting - the health of the River Murray depends on it.

For Comment

Senator O’Brien’s Office Kelvin Thomson’s Office

Kerry O’Brien 0419 007 780 Kelvin Thomson 0419 594 882

Jack Lake 0438 773 842 Rob Wootton (03) 9350 5777