The Rudd Labor Government has broken its promise to give urgent attention to a major Port Pirie water recycling proposal, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
The project is expected to reduce Port Pirie’s reliance on the River Murray by 60 per cent, yet Water Minister Penny Wong was unable to answer even basic questions in Senate Budget Estimates.
Labor gave a commitment to treat the plan urgently just days before the last election.
“Labor will give the Port Pirie water recycling proposal our urgent attention.”
Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Water and Infrastructure, email to ABC Radio, November 2007
Yet this exchange at Estimates suggests no such urgent attention has been given.
Senator BIRMINGHAM-What urgent attention is being given to the Nyrstar proposal?
Senator Wong-I might have to take that question on notice, Senator.
Senator BIRMINGHAM-Is any attention being given to the Nyrstar proposal?
Senator Wong-I said I might have to take this on notice. There are quite a number of projects that the Commonwealth is funding, as you would be aware, and I do not want to give you incorrect information. I would like to take the question on notice.
Senator BIRMINGHAM-I will have additional questions on Nyrstar that I will place on notice as well, if you do not have any information you can provide at this time.
Senate Committee Hansard, 28 May 2009
“You’d think the Water Minister would know if urgent attention was being given by Labor, some 18 months after urgent attention had been promised by Labor,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“Minister Wong was unable in Estimates to even indicate any sign of anything close to attention being given.
“It’s astonishing that Penny Wong and the Rudd Government can find $328 million for Adelaide’s desalination plant, yet can’t find the $5 million committed by the Coalition to help a major regional centre reduce its reliance on the Murray.”
Senator Birmingham is Deputy Chair of the Senate Environment, Communications and the Arts Legislation Committee which questioned Minister Wong and departmental officials as part of Senate Budget Estimates.