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Howard Government’s water tender fails dismally.

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MEDIA RELEASE Anthony Albanese MP Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Water Manager of Opposition Business Federal Member for Grayndler Howard Government’s water tender fails dismally The Howard Government’s major program to recover water for the Murray River has failed dismally. In 2006, the Government allocated $200 million to recover 200GL of water entitlements for the Murray through a tender for water efficiency which closed on 14 February 2007. Government complacency over water policy has meant a very small fraction of the funding has been spent and almost no water has been recovered. On 22 May 2006, Peter McGauran stated “The government will also allow up to $200 million of its contribution to the purchasing of water from on-farm efficiency savings by way of a tender system that the parliamentary secretary is working up now.” Last night at Senate Estimates it was revealed that only $765,000 was spent purchasing water entitlements through the Living Murray tender. Malcolm Turnbull stated on 19 June 2006 the Government “would not be seeking to acquire more than 200 gigalitres”. Senate Estimates has revealed that only three tenders were accepted, recovering 454ML of water entitlements, which is 0.2% of the volume Malcolm Turnbull talked up. The Government promises a lot on water policy, but delivers very little. Although the Prime Minister warned on 25 January about the danger of not taking “decisive action” to address over-allocated water licences, the Government is not delivering on its commitments. The Budget states that only $53 million or half of one percent of the $10 billion National Water Plan will be spent in the whole of the next financial year.

The Government is all talk and no action over water, and it is no wonder that the Head of Treasury, Mr Ken Henry, has expressed concerns about lack of proper policy development over climate change and water.

The Government’s political crisis over climate change and industrial relations is more important to John Howard than the national water crisis.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

For further information/comment: Antony Sachs 0417 493 485