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Nationals backflip on water policy: what's next?



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DATE: Monday, February 18, 2008

NATIONALS BACKFLIP ON WATER POLICY - WHAT'S NEXT?

The Victorian National Party has made its first backflip on water policy less than a week into its Kennett-style Coalition with the Liberal Party, Water Minister Tim Holding said today.

Nationals MP and coalition spokesperson for Country Water, Peter Walsh has today admitted the National Party now supports the Goldfields Superpipe - in stark contrast to its previous opposition to the project.

Mr Holding said it was obvious the National Party backdown on taking water from the Goulburn system for Ballarat and Bendigo’s water supply was a condition of the Coalition, and Coalition MP’s must now declare what other backdowns they have agreed to.

“The Coalition now supports taking water from the Goulburn system for town water supplies - something Peter Ryan and Peter Walsh said they would never accept,” Mr Holding said.

“Mr Ryan has previously said ‘to take water from the irrigators of the Goulburn Valley and then pump it to Bendigo and Ballarat is nothing less than a disgrace’.

“Since becoming junior members of the Coalition, the National Party has announced it supports the Superpipe taking water from the Goulburn system for town water, what will be next?”

The Brumby Government has always maintained that providing water security for key regional centres was vital for the future of Victoria.

Mr Holding said he expected Coalition MP’s to reveal to Victorians what other water backflips they had made following its Coalition shadow cabinet meeting in Ballarat tomorrow.

Mr Holding said key issues they must come clean on include:

• The National Party opposes desalination, but the Liberals support it - although the Liberals don't know where they want to build it; • The Liberal Party opposes damming the Mitchell, but the National Party supports it, although the Nationals do not know if any of the water should be available for Melbourne; • The Liberal Party supports more water for Melbourne, although it has no plan to deliver it, while the National Party wants to cap Melbourne's water supply at a fixed level; and

FROM THE MINISTER FOR WATER

Page 1 of 2 Media Release: NATIONALS BACKFLIP ON WATER POLICY - WHAT'S NEXT?

6/03/2008 http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/newmedia.nsf/8fc6e140ef55837cca256...

• Both parties claim to support the Food Bowl Modernisation Project, but given their opposition to Melbourne Water investing in the project and receiving a share of the savings, neither have a funding model to deliver it.

"Water is crucial to communities across the State. Water security is essential if we are to continue to see growth and investment,” Mr Holding said.

“The Coalition's jumble of water policies is a sorry joke, and reflects the hopeless inadequacies of their shabby marriage of convenience.”

“The Brumby Government has clear water plan and is getting on with the job of building vital water infrastructure right across Victoria.”

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Page 2 of 2 Media Release: NATIONALS BACKFLIP ON WATER POLICY - WHAT'S NEXT?

6/03/2008 http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/newmedia.nsf/8fc6e140ef55837cca256...