Julia Gillard continues to treat the plight of the River Murray with contempt, failing to mention it once despite a tediously long campaign launch speech today, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
“It beggars belief that someone standing for the position of Prime Minister could fail to mention the issues facing the Murray-Darling Basin food bowl or its waterways at this time of desperate need,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“This is particularly so given the uncertainties created by the delayed release of the draft Basin Plan, ultimately due to Labor’s delays in establishing the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.
“Ms Gillard has not given sufficient regard to this issue to even visit Basin communities in recent times, let alone since becoming Prime Minister.
“Worse still, Labor has no policy on the Murray-Darling Basin, having released only a couple of superficial and uncosted press releases.
“In contrast, Tony Abbott made the Murray-Darling a central part of his first major speech as Opposition Leader, has made numerous visits to Basin communities, including the Lower Lakes and Murray mouth where he announced our detailed and costed policies.
“Even before the release of our detailed policies, Mr Abbott had given these issues the prominence they deserve in his own Coalition campaign launch speech:
“Water is probably the most urgent environmental challenge facing our country. The Coalition will end Labor’s procrastination and fully and finally implement the Howard/Turnbull/Anderson plan for the Murray Darling basin. Carefully targeted water buybacks plus much more efficient use of water has the potential to rejuvenate the Murray mouth and to protect Adelaide’s water supply.”
            Tony Abbott, Coalition campaign launch, 8 August 2010
“The Coalition is serious about Murray-Darling Basin reform and the needs of the river and communities relying on them. Labor never has been.”