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Wednesday, 30 May 1973
Page: 2898

Mr FISHER (Mallee) - The Australian Country Party is pleased to see that the Government has supported the decision of the previous Government to grant up to $2.1m to South Australia for assistance in constructing a pipeline which will cost over $5m. The Lock-Kimba pipeline in some respects resembles the Millewa pipeline project which is planned in my electorate of Mallee. I have in mind the number of farms to be serviced and the natural environmental and agricultural conditions. This pipeline at present is also under construction as a result of a similar grant from the former Government. In these areas water is a limiting factor with regard to both human and stock life. These areas have a low natural rainfall, high evaporation rates and high annual consumption. In this age of technological sophistication and of tremendous improvements in personal standards of living, schemes such as this must be completed with all haste to provide for people who are prepared to suffer no small amount of personal hardship, particularly in relation to education, cost of services and means of communication. At least a reliable water supply will give these people the security that such a supply can offer.

One of the main reasons that this project was deferred in 1970 was that the expenditure involved was considered inappropriate in view of the low prices being obtained for wool. The position, of course, has changed considerably now. Not only are wool and sheep meat products competing in a more satisfactory, economic and viable state; cattle production also has expanded, giving rise to diversification. A reliable water reticulation scheme to each individual property will have a further stabilising effect on production and income, allowing a continuation of this diversification. There are many regions in Australia where future pipeline schemes will be necessary to bring water to towns and properties. Water must be available to supply their needs. Many existing open channel systems that have served an essential purpose in the past will have to be replaced with piped supplies so that future requirements can be met. The huge annual losses through evaporation must be reduced if there is to be a reliable water supply to serve not only existing needs but also future increased consumption.

The Lock to Kimba scheme will service an area of 259 hectares taking in about 270 properties and including the township of Kimba, with a population of approximately 900, and also other smaller community centres. The successful implementation of this project is economically important for the State of South Australia as well as for the immediate farming districts which the pipeline will serve, but perhaps its real value is not in monetary terms; rather is it its aesthetic value. Nearly all land holders in this region have at some time or other had to cart water for stock and home purposes. This has happened at frequent intervals and on occasions the State Government has even had to rail water to the district. The satisfaction of having a garden, lawns and orchards can now be appreciated and enjoyed because of this future reliable water source.

The Australian Country Party supports this scheme as have honourable members from both sides of the House. The Commonwealth must continue to make grants for projects of this nature that guarantee the future comfort and security of all our people whether they live in rural or urban areas. I know that our new Country Party member in the South Australian Parliament, Mr Peter Blacker, concurs with this Bill as does the honourable member for Grey (Mr Wallis). The Federal Government's decision to continue the former Government's policy of water conservation and reticulation is to be commended. We support this Bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

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