(Smithson: … the fact that Peter Garrett didn’t want to come on the program this morning … is he trying to make himself a small target on this? Do you think he just wants to lay low … he said there was nothing to report.) I find it quite remarkable that the Federal Environment Minister, the man who’s put a press release out this morning saying that it’s his decision that an environmental impact statement is necessary, won’t then respond to his … own press release … and front up by talking to the people of South Australia about the implications of that decision. It really beggars belief and to say that he doesn’t believe people would be interested in the issue … it demonstrates just how out of touch he and the Rudd Government are with South Australians if they don’t think that this State is interested in issues concerning the River Murray and the Lower Lakes. It is the number one issue in this State for most people … it’s just amazing that Garrett treats people with such contempt. (Smithson: Where do you see the issue headed from now … obviously you’ve taken a keen interest in this … I can’t see an alternative to seawater in the Lower Lakes. I’d like to think there was, but I think there will be a decision made … that of course means the weir decision has to be made … do you see it now as inevitable?) … there are two things to flow from this … the issue of the introduction of seawater into the Lower Lakes is now back in the court of the South Australian Government. They’re the ones who have to, under this approval process, prepare the environmental impact statement, and they’re also the ones who’ve been the main proponent of flooding seawater into the Lower Lakes … I call on Mike Rann and Karlene Maywald to make this as transparent a process as possible, to put in place an independent expert panel to oversee the preparation of this environmental impact statement, one that the public has confidence in. Not having a process that’s delved into by faceless bureaucrats, people who deliver a report that gives the Government what it wants, but instead involve people, involve experts like Mike Young and others in the process that gives the public some confidence that the final outcome does reflect what the real environmental impact of their desire to flood the lakes with seawater actually is … the first thing is about the flooding the lakes with seawater and the need for the Government to make sure their environmental impact is credible, has public confidence and therefore it needs that independent expert oversight rather than just being done by a bunch of public servants. The second thing is trying to avoid needing to ever make the decision … that requires urgent action and that’s where the Federal Government still has a role to play. That’s where Henry Jones’s right to say the Government needs to unlock money quickly and do that far more quickly than they have been in the past. For water buyback, sure they’ve been starting that, the problem there is there isn’t any water to buyback at present … for infrastructure upgrades as well … there are billions of dollars of projects that could be delivered that could save many thousands of millions of litres of water throughout the system and it’s very disappointing the Government is dragging its heels on those. They seem to be able to deliver some infrastructure projects very quickly, certainly a lot of talk about infrastructure at present, but the ones such as re-engineering Menindee Lakes, supporting irrigators upstream to save water that could put water back through the system, back into the Lower Lakes they seem to be taking years of assessment … years of assessment aren’t good enough, speed that process up and hopefully you’ll never have to make the decision to flood the Lower Lakes.