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Water money must target problems not politics.



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Gavan O'Connor MP MEMBER FOR CORIO SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES

28 June 2004

WATER MONEY MUST TARGET PROBLEMS NOT POLITICS

It is vitally important that decisions on funding under the National Water Initiative be made on the merits of projects and not on the political and electoral agenda of the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister has so far put no new money on the table to fund projects under the National Water Initiative that was agreed with the Premiers at the COAG meeting on Friday.

However Mr Howard has agreed to provide funds for improved water management projects on a case by case basis.

There is a real danger that the Prime Minister will be tempted to put his own electoral survival ahead of the national interest in deciding which projects should be funded.

Labor put national water reform on the COAG agenda back in February 1994 and it has taken the Howard Government ten long years to get to the point of actually announcing an initiative.

It is vitally important that ten year’s work is not wasted and each project is assessed on its merits and that funding decisions are made accordingly.

Labor calls on the Prime Minister to put consideration of electoral advantage aside and to ensure that any money allocated under the National Water Initiative is distributed strictly in the national interest.

It would be a disaster if all we got in the lead up to the election is a series of announcements for funding projects in marginal seats.

Contact Gavan O’Connor on 0418 518 528 Bernie Eades on 0419 664 016