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Women call on COAG to agree on national water initiative.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon John Anderson MP Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Transport and Regional Services Leader of The Nationals

07 May 2004 A53/2004


Water management - one of the most important issues facing Australian communities - has been the subject of an historic in-depth forum at the University of New England, Armidale.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, John Anderson, attended the Women and Water Forum, speaking to a gathering of 28 women from around the country.

"The ongoing availability of water and its proper management is one of the most important long-term issues for all Australians - whether they live in urban or rural areas," Mr Anderson said.

"The National Water Initiative will affect every single Australian and is an opportunity to improve investment and economic growth and sustain water resources around the country."

The forum was organised by the Regional Women's Advisory Council to focus on water as a significant and critical national issue for communities, business and the environment and to discuss government policies on water, including the National Water Initiative.

"I strongly commend this group of diverse, active and influential women coming together to discuss the issues around this subject. It is well understood that women are very often the change agents in communities. If we are going to get change in attitudes to water use and management, it is essential that women play a leading role.

"An important element of the National Water Initiative is fair dealing for all people - and governments must engage with their local communities if that is to happen. I see this forum as an important catalyst for increasing the level of engagement in these critical processes.

"Forum participants have made the commitment to become 'ongoing advocates' for change within their own communities and industries and I welcome their call

for State governments to actively encourage more women to participate in this national discussion by holding forums in their jurisdictions."

Guest speakers at the forum included the President of the Murray Darling Basin Commission, Ian Sinclair, the Chair of Land and Water Australia and member of the Regional Women's Advisory Council, Bobbie Brazil, Fresh Water Manager for WWF Australia, Dr Helen Foard, and Secretary of the Upper Namoi Water Users' Association, Juanita Hamparsum. A communiqué on the outcomes of the Women in Water Forum is attached.

Media Contacts

Paul Chamberlin ( Minister Anderson's Office ) 02 6277 7680