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The Australian Conservation Foundation today called on all sides of politics at state and federal levels to focus on achieving on-ground results for national water reform.
“Water has been used as a political football for too long,” said ACF Executive Director Don Henry.
“The answers to many of our water and river health problems can be found in the COAG-agreed National Water Initiative, but the signatory governments are yet to implement it properly.
“Governments and Oppositions need to:
- move beyond crisis management and adopt long term plans for river health and water supply;
- address the problem of over-extraction of water from our rivers by purchasing water from willing sellers;
- streamline governance and institutional arrangements without getting bogged down intergovernmental and partisan turf wars;
- commit to big cuts in greenhouse pollution to tackle climate change.
“The drought has focused everybody’s attention and highlighted Australia’s vulnerability to water shortages. If we don’t tackle climate change it will get much worse,” he said.
Recent reports by the Productivity Commission and the Business Council of Australia support the use of market mechanisms and the purchase of water.