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AAP Lines: Drought assistance to farmers and need for water efficiency funding.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Bartlett Deputy Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Environment & Animal Welfare Australian Democrats spokesperson for Agriculture

Dated: 18 October 2006 Press Release Number: arvveruv Portfolio: Environment & Animal Welfare Related: Energy and Resources

Related: Agriculture

AAP Lines: Drought Assistance to Farmers and Need For Water Efficiency Funding

Democrats' water spokesperson Senator Andrew Bartlett has said that the Prime Minister's buck passing on selective drought funding fails to address the key problem with on-going rural drought assistance.

"That governments deem farmers in some states worthy of federal assistance but not those in others is truly bizarre," Senator Bartlett said.

"The government should be assisting farmers by providing funds to utilise water more efficiently in the long term, then they wouldn't need to spend so much on drought assistance or play the blame-game with the states over who missed out and why.

"There are still farmers out there using inefficient water systems who can't afford to invest in new water efficient technologies.

"It's estimated that one-third of Australia's irrigation water is lost or unaccounted for before the water gets to the farm gate. We also have uncapped bores, poor irrigation channels that are subject to evaporation, seeping and leakage and poor storage systems.

"Governments, both state and federal should be funding water efficient technology for farmers, not taking the unrealistic path of propping up unviable farms indefinitely while failing to do what is necessary to solve the problem of water wastage.

"The Democrats repeat our long-standing call for a national water summit to try to break through the impasses cause by drought, federal-state bickering and vested interest," Senator Bartlett concluded.