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Govt $10bn water plan unravelling.

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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation, Science and Research.

09/03/07 15/ 07

Govt $10bn water plan unravelling National's launch campaign to cut out CSIRO science

John Howard's hastily conceived $10 billion water plan is coming apart at the seams, with internal Coalition tensions threatening to derail it, according to reports in the Australian Financial Review today.

The National Party is trying to nobble the CSIRO's role in the provision of scientific advice on water allocations, as part of a campaign headed by Deputy Prime Minster Mark Vaile and Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran.

The National Party, is, once again, putting its own political interests ahead of the national interest. If they succeed the $10 billion scheme will be fatally politicised.

The CSIRO has the top scientists in the areas of drought and water allocation and must be a key player in any plan to try and better manage our scarce water resources. Key scientists warn that our assumptions and modelling on water yields and water allocation must be revised. It is not good enough to simply leave

things as they are.

This is blatant political interference in Australia's peak public research organisation, and the Government should be condemned for it.

Unfortunately it is part of an all too predictable pattern for the National Party and Minister McGauran specifically.

Minister McGauran has form on interfering in CSIRO’s research programmes from his days as Minister for Science.

The Howard Government has already sidelined CSIRO on the plan, with no specific allocation for more research coming to the peak organisation. Now the Nationals are trying to stymie what little role it has.

The proper management of water resources and climate change are too important to be left to the squabbling of this out-of-touch, self interested Government.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Catriona Jackson 0417 142238