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Labor to fund aquatic weed harvester for the Hawkesbury Nepean River.



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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Anthony Albanese MP Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Water

David Bradbury Labor candidate for Lindsay

Labor to fund aquatic weed harvester for the Hawkesbury Nepean River

A Rudd Labor Government will provide $500,000 to fund the purchase of an aquatic weed harvester for the Hawkesbury Nepean River, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Water, Anthony Albanese and Labor candidate for Lindsay, David Bradbury, announced today.

In recent years, inadequate environmental flows in the Hawkesbury Nepean River have caused severe outbreaks of aquatic weeds, which have had a devastating effect on water quality and river based employment, sport and tourism.

Aquatic weeds like salvinia and egeria can only be combated by regularly ‘mowing’ the river with a specially-designed aquatic weed harvester.

Under the Rudd Labor plan, $500,000 will be provided by the Commonwealth to the Hawkesbury River County Council to purchase an aquatic weed harvester so that future weed outbreaks can be treated regularly without waiting for the problem to reach crisis-point.

The Hawkesbury River County Council has responsibility for managing the control of weeds along the riverbanks of the Hawkesbury Nepean River, and the County Council will be responsible for the ongoing use and maintenance of the Weed Harvester.

In the past, the Hawkesbury River County Council has had to rely on ‘ad hoc’ grants to engage private contractors to mow the aquatic weeds. Such assistance has only ever arrived after the salvinia, egeria and other aquatic weed outbreaks have reached crisis point.

“The Nepean River is an iconic local environmental asset and represents a great artery flowing through the heart of the Penrith Valley” said Mr Bradbury.

“Apart from being a focal point for water based sporting and recreational activities, the Nepean River is the lifeblood of much of our local tourism and agricultural sector.

In recent years, recurring outbreaks of aquatic weeds have threatened local agricultural and tourism industries and have even led to the cancellation of local swimming and triathlon events.

“The purchase of an aquatic weed harvester will help the Hawkesbury River County Council manage future aquatic weed outbreaks and restore environmental flows to the River so that we can all enjoy this valuable environmental resource.”

Mr Albanese said there was a clear need to act on the health of the Hawkesbury Nepean River and that is why a Rudd Labor Government would fund the purchase of an aquatic weed harvester.

“This is a practical response to a decade-long problem. A Rudd Labor Government understands the importance of protecting the local environment for our future generations.”

Mr Bradbury said that today’s announcement was the first plank in a Rudd Labor Government’s plan to improve the health of the Hawkesbury Nepean River.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

For further information/comment: Prue Guillaume (Bradbury) - 0414 055 185 Antony Sachs (Albanese) 0417 493 485