Taxpayers deserve explanations from Federal and SA Labor about the spending of both federal and state taxpayer dollars on a mothballed desalination plant, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Murray-Darling Basin Simon Birmingham said today.
It follows SA Water’s shock announcement today that intends to ‘mothball’ the $1.8 billion Adelaide Desalination Plant until at least June 2016.
While South Australian taxpayers and water users are paying the largest share, the Rudd and Gillard Governments committed $328 million of all Australian taxpayers’ money including $228 million as part of a never explained decision to double the Plant’s capacity.
The Australian Government will commit a further $228 million to the Adelaide Desalination Plant if capacity is expanded from 50 gigalitres (GL) to 100 GL per year, reducing South Australia’s reliance on the Murray River.
This funding will be in addition to $100 million that has already been committed for the 50 GL plant bringing the total Australian Government commitment to up to $328 million if the plant is expanded to 100 GL.
Penny Wong, then Minister for Climate Change and Water, media release, 12 May 2009
“All Australians deserve to know why this grotesque cash splash should not now be considered just another example of Labor waste and mismanagement alongside ‘Pink Batts’, school halls and Green Loans,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“Once again, Federal Labor’s preference for a quick political fix has left taxpayers footing a multi-million dollar bill with nothing to show for it.”