As the last day before polling day, today is Labor’s last chance to release a policy on water, especially one on the needs of a desperate Murray Darling Basin, Coalition Basin spokesman Simon Birmingham said today.
“Tony Abbott has released detailed and costed policies on both of his visits to South Australia – one on water conservation and the other on the Murray Darling – but Labor have to date put out only a couple of media releases without any costing,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“This must be embarrassing to Water Minister Penny Wong and would be for Julia Gillard too if she was as South Australian as she conveniently claims whenever visiting Adelaide.
Senator Wong has been left to promise that “a re-elected Gillard Government … will continue to do the work we’re already doing”. (ABC Radio, 5 August)
The Coalition’s detailed water policies already outlined include commitments to:
  • provide $16.5 million to the Waterproofing Eastern Adelaide Project, harvesting stormwater from the Torrens River;
  • provide $4 million to the Adelaide City Council for its planned Victoria Park stormwater wetland
  • develop a National Standard for the use of Stormwater in Potable Water Supplies, ensuring that stormwater is used in a way that genuinely reduces reliance on stressed river systems;
  • establish a $100 million Community Water Conservation Grants Program;
  • release the hidden Murray Darling Basin Plan within two weeks, finalise it without delay and recover the water necessary to implement it and provide sustainability to the Murray Darling;
  • deliver stalled water saving infrastructure projects across the Murray Darling Basin, making food producers more efficient, while returning water to the environment;
  • purchase additional 150 billion litres of water for the Lower Lakes and Coorong in 2010-11; and
  • aim to put 100 billion litres of freshwater into the Coorong this year, for the first time in years.
“Our commitments to water issues are detailed in two fully costed and publicly available policies. 
“Today is Labor’s last chance to issue something more than an uncosted press release, or they might as well tell South Australians to vote Liberal – the only way we will see real action on the Murray, the Coorong and stormwater reuse.”