Monday, 25 June 2007

The Valley noticed, Prime Minister

"Howard has his way on water"
'The government should be allowing these rivers to keep flowing'

THE Federal Government has used its numbers in the Senate to block a move to abandon plans to divert the Clarence and other North Coast rivers.
Last week Western Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert moved that the government 'abandon plans for damming the Clarence, Tweed, Richmond and Mann Rivers, and work with local communities, local water authorities and state governments in developing alternative sources to meet increasing demand, such as rainwater tanks, stormwater capture and storage, and recycling.'
The Senate voted 35-31 to defeat the motion.
One of those who voted against the motion was Liberal Senator and chairman of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Standing Committee, which is investigating the Clarence diversion proposal, Bill Heffernan.
Senator Siewert, who is the deputy chairwoman of the committee, supported the motion.
Later, NSW Green Senator Kerry Nettle called for the Clarence, Tweed, Richmond and Mann rivers to be able to continue flowing.
"The Greens proposed a motion to the Senate calling for the government to pursue water efficiency and recycling rather than dam the rivers of northern NSW, but the government opposed the motion," Senator Nettle said.
"The government should be allowing these rivers to keep flowing rather than proposing to dam them.
"The government opposed a Greens motion calling for rainwater tanks and water recycling. The government is acting irresponsibly.
"The government should stop opposing common sense measures that will increase water security for all Australians.
"The Greens support sustainable long-term solutions to water scarcity that the government continues to ignore at its peril."
The motion to the Senate also noted:
n.The impact of reduced rainfall on inflows into river systems in northern NSW due to the combined effects of climate change and drought.
n.That serious water management issues already exist in these systems, including problems with over-allocation of water resources.
n.The economic value of the range of industries that depend on these systems - from dairy farms on the floodplains through to commercial fisheries.

[The Daily Examiner,Grafton,25.06.07,"Howard has his way on water",p.7,text copy]

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