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Joint Media Release
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
Federal Member for Eden-Monaro
Gary Nairn MP

2 September 2005

Beattie baulks at detail in Water Plan

Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, and Gary Nairn MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister said the Queensland government had failed to adequately address water reform, relegating water recycling to nothing more than a footnote in the recently announced Water Plan.

"At a time when parts of South East Queensland are expected to move to level two and possibly level three water restrictions, Premier Beattie has only paid lip service to the concept of water recycling," Mr Hunt said.

"Around 330 billion litres of effluent is produced by Queensland's cities and towns and less than 10% of this is recycled. The Plan may advocate the use of recycled water for industry and agriculture, but it does not include direct strategies or action plans it is sadly lacking in detail.

"It's been four years since Queensland released its water recycling strategy and we are still waiting on it to deliver.

"The Water Plan is just another classic Premier Beattie feel good approach without delivering on substance."

Mr Nairn said the Plan ran the risk of falling short of those actions agreed to by the States and Territories through the National Water Initiative (NWI).

"The success of the NWI hinges on the States and Territories being gutsy about reform guidelines, making the hard decisions and actioning them I hold serious concerns that the Plan provides too much rhetoric and too little in terms of concrete detailed actions and targets," Mr Nairn said.

"The Federal Government is playing its part, recently announcing $32.2 million toward water projects in Queensland, but when it comes to progressing water reform the Queensland government has control of Queensland's water and it is up to them to take the agenda forward.

"The NWI will come to nothing if the States and Territories baulk when it comes to doing the hard yards and taking the hard decisions."

Media enquiries:
Fiona Murphy 0423 577 045 (Mr Hunt's office)
James Baird 0419 158 688 (Mr Nairn's office)

Commonwealth of Australia