Wednesday, 6 February 2013
Water Amendment (Water for the Environment Special Account) Bill 2012; In Committee
by leave—I move Australian Greens amendments (1) to (6) on sheet 7314 together:
(1) Schedule 1, item 2, page 4 (line 6), omit "can be achieved", substitute "must be achieved".
(2) Schedule 1, item 2, page 4 (line 21), omit "per litre", substitute "per litre in any 2 consecutive years and less than 1000 electrical conductivity for 95% of the time during those 2 years".
(3) Schedule 1, item 2, page 5 (line 1), omit "open", substitute "open to an average annual depth of 1 metre or more".
(4) Schedule 1, item 2, page 5 (line 5), omit "as a long term average", substitute "over a 3 year rolling average".
(5) Schedule 1, item 2, page 5 (after line 35), after paragraph 86AA(3)(a), insert:
(aa) purchasing water access rights in relation to Basin water resources to deliver environmental water to the environmental assets of the Murray Darling Basin; and
(6) Schedule 1, item 2, page 5 (line 37), omit "by", substitute "at least".
The first lot of amendments here go to the environmental objectives in the bill. In my speech in the second reading debate I spoke about the inadequacy of guaranteeing the 450 gigalitre amount be returned. It says 450; we obviously need to understand that in order to achieve the environmental outcomes that we have all discussed that we want in order to restore the river's health, we would like to see at least 450 gigalitres returned. We also need some other environmental indicators in there.
This goes directly to what the objective of this bill is meant to achieve, and that is to guarantee the health of the system. I would like to hear the government's position on these amendments, seeing that we have heard directly from both the Prime Minister and the water minister that they both agree that 3,200 gigalitres in total is a minimum that is required in order to save the system and that it should not be capped at that amount.