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Labor's push for water for the Murray set to pay off.



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KELVIN THOMSON

Media Release from the Shadow Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Member for Wills Friday, 14 November 2003 Labor’s push for water for the Murray set to pay off The Murray Darling Basin Ministerial Council’s decision to find 500 gigalitres (GL) in environmental flows for the Murray River over the next five years is an important first step. It is a tribute to vigorous campaigning by conservation groups, State Labor Governments and particularly the South Australian Government, and to Simon Crean’s boldness in announcing a plan to Save the Murray River in his Budget Reply earlier this year. Without Simon Crean’s bold policy initiative it is doubtful that the Howard Government would have taken any serious action at all. During the past seven and a half years it has allowed Labor’s COAG water reform initiative of 1994 to go around in circles, and has failed to deliver a single litre in environmental flows to help the Murray. The 500 GL figure is well short of the science which tells us that 1500 GL is needed to restore the Murray to a healthy working river system. But it is not dramatically different from Labor’s plan to provide 450 GL for the Murray in its first term of office, and it is accompanied by specific ecological objectives for the Murray Mouth, Barmah, Gunbower, Chowilla and the River Murray channel. Labor will be watching the implementation of this first step like a hawk on a River Red Gum. The Howard Government has been dragged kicking and screaming to this point. At the first sign of any let up in public pressure they will go soft again, and the Murray River will be left to die. For Further Information: Kelvin Thomson MP Phone: 03 9350 5777 Mobile: 0419 594 882