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Water Minister to tour northern Murray-Darling Basin.

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PW 49/09 1 March 2009 WATER MINISTER TO TOUR NORTHERN MURRAY-DARLING BASIN Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, will visit northern parts of the Murray-Darling Basin this week and meet irrigators, farmers, catchment management authorities, local government representatives and environmental groups to discuss water management issues. Senator Wong will visit Goondiwindi and Moree tomorrow, Dubbo and district on Tuesday, and Bourke and Broken Hill on Wednesday. “I’m looking forward to hearing from a range of people across the northern Basin about how we can better manage water in Australia’s most productive food bowl, particularly against a backdrop of climate change and predictions of less water,” Senator Wong said. “I’m keen to discuss how we strengthen our ability to successfully deal with the challenges of adjusting to a future with less water. “Naturally, the need to address historical over-allocation of water resources and improve the health of the Basin’s rivers and wetlands will also be discussed. I expect to hear a wide range of views on how best to achieve these urgent priorities.” The Rudd Government has set out a $12.9 billion plan, Water for the Future, to help secure a future for agriculture and irrigation communities in the Basin while also returning water to rivers and wetlands. Senator Wong said the trip would focus on how the Government can best deliver the range of programs and policies under Water for the Future. Senator Wong will meet with a range of stakeholders and members of the community during the tour. Her schedule includes delivering the opening address at the Murray-Darling Association Forum in Goondiwindi and receiving briefings on moves to secure Broken Hill’s water supply. Senator Wong will also meet landholders and environmental management groups to discuss the Macquarie Marshes.