Efforts to save the iconic Snowy River have been specifically secured as a result of Opposition amendments in the Senate to the Water Amendment Bill 2008.
This demonstrates that claims by Victorian Water Minister Tim Holding of threats to the Snowy, as a result of Coalition and Greens amendments, are bare-faced lies.
Coalition is just as committed to saving the Snowy as we are to saving the Goulburn, Murray and indeed any of Australia’s threatened river systems.
This stands in stark contrast to Mr Holding and the Victorian Labor Government who are hell bent on making Melbourne reliant on the finite resources of the stressed Goulburn River, a critically important part of the Murray-Darling Basin.
The level of hypocrisy in Mr Holding’s claims of environmental vandalism by the Liberal Party and the Greens are truly astounding.
The real environmental vandalism lies in Labor’s plans to drain 75 gigalitres a year from the Goulburn.
Lest there be any doubt about the Coalition’s commitment to the Snowy or the Water for Rivers project designed to deliver environmental flows to it, the Coalition successfully inserted specific protections for the Snowy in our amendments that will stop Labor’s irresponsible Sugarloaf or ‘North-South’ pipeline:
(10A) To avoid doubt:
(a) the delivery of water for the initiatives of the Water for Rivers project was an existing use of water prior to 3 July 2008; and
(b) the taking of water for the initiatives of the Water for Rivers project is not contrary to subsection 21(8); and
(c) the construction and operation of water infrastructure for the initiatives of the Water for Rivers project is not contrary to subsection 257(1); and
(d) all commenced and provisionally agreed Snowy River environmental flows are preserved and excluded from the provisions of subsections 21(8), 21(9) and 257(1).
Rather than scaremongering or mudslinging, Mr Holding would best serve the people of Victoria by calling to a halt construction of Labor’s pipeline and instead invest in stormwater harvesting and/or other responsible water savings strategies to secure Melbourne’s water supply.
In the absence of Mr Holding acting, the ball is in Mr Rudd’s court as to whether he will support the Coalition’s responsible amendments that stop this pipeline, protect the Snowy and secure a better future for the Murray-Darling system.