Plans by the Prime Minister to talk about alcohol warning labels at the COAG meeting in Adelaide today but not the River Murray just aren’t good enough according to South Australian Senator Simon Birmingham.
“Making alcohol producers put warning labels on their products is an easy decision for a Prime Minister looking for an easy headline,” Senator Birmingham said. ”Attempting to resolve the River Murray impasse would show real leadership.
“Regrettably, Prime Minister Rudd is building up a very poor track record of ignoring the plight of the River Murray. Since his election four months ago he has:
Ø failed to list the Murray on the agenda for the first COAG meeting in December;
Ø broken his promise of “taking both Premiers (Rann & Brumby) aside and dealing with the impasse … in the New Year … as soon as he’s able to” (5AA, 21/12/07);
Ø failed to deliver any outcomes for the Murray Darling Basin at the first meeting of the COAG Working Group on Climate Change and Water on 25 January;
Ø broken Labor’s promise of bringing forward $100 million in expenditure from the National Plan for Water Security this year;
Ø cut $50 million of programs under the National Plan for Water Security this year; and
Ø convened his second COAG meeting today and again left the Murray off the agenda.
“With all of the key players locked in a room in Adelaide today, the Prime Minister should have forced an agreement from Victoria. Maybe the COAG agenda papers need to come with a warning label of their own in future – Ignoring Murray will kill river system!