The Lower Murray is being denied further additional flows out of New South Wales thanks to ongoing delays in promised infrastructure works, Coalition Murray Darling Basin spokesman Simon Birmingham said today.
“The relief that additional flows announced over the last 24 hours will bring to the Lower Lakes and other parts is welcome, but there would be more water available if works to reduce evaporation waste had been undertaken as promised,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Estimates in Labor’s own 2007 election policy document indicate that 200 billion litres could be saved every year from reduced evaporation and increased efficiencies through the $400 million reengineering of the Menindee Lakes storage.
“This project was fully funded by the Howard Government in 2007 and in Labor’s election policy was at the very top of a list of Murray-Darling projects*, but the sad fact is that not one bit of engineering works has been undertaken on the Menindee Lakes.
“Announcements about additional flows to the Lower Lakes and elsewhere are welcome for a system in desperate need, but New South Wales is hanging on to hundreds of billions of litres of water that will only evaporate thanks to the Rudd Government’s failings.
“Menindee Lakes is just one example of the Rudd Government’s failure to deliver on water saving infrastructure.
“Virtually nothing has yet been spent on multi-billion dollar priority projects agreed to by the Federal, Victorian and New South Wales Governments in mid 2008.
“If these promised infrastructure works had been progressed by the Rudd Government, the New South Wales floodwaters would be delivering significantly more much needed water for our irrigators, communities relying on the river and of course the river itself.”
* See page 12 of Labor’s national plan to tackle the water crisis, available at http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/library/partypol/170P6/upload_binary/170p62.pdf;fileType%3Dapplication%2Fpdf