Senate debates

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Matters of Urgency

Climate Change: Water

5:42 pm

Photo of Nita GreenNita Green (Queensland, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise today to speak on this urgency motion. Again, I'm speaking on an urgency motion drafted by the Greens to, as we've seen before, essentially trigger the Nationals into delivering this type of performance art we've seen in the last couple of speeches. The truth is it is a difficult motion to be directed at the Nationals. I think it takes out what is important about this debate. But we do know—fair enough—the Nationals try to pick and choose when they're in government and when they're not. I don't live in some of these communities that people have spoken about today. I'm not down south in Adelaide or down in southern New South Wales, but it is an issue that deeply affects people in regional Queensland. I know from living there that the Nationals like to run around and talk about the things that they care about, but, when they come down here, they forget to do the work to get the policies delivered. They're very good at turning up with some corflutes and some petitions, at getting media to come along and at talking about the things that they're going to do because they're in the National Party, but, when they come down here, they're part of the Liberal-National Party and they make sure that they are part of a government that continues to mismanage water and environment policy and all the things that actually matter to the people that they say they represent.

This productivity report slammed the Morrison government's management of water, and that's because it takes a commitment to deliver not just to your constituency but to everyone who relies on water. You can't deliver a policy that is just about delivering applause to yourself when you get back to where you're from. You've got to deliver a policy that supports everyone who relies on water and that acknowledges the very real impacts that climate change is having on our environment in our rural regions and the impact that it is having on the very communities that the Nationals say that they represent.

Some of the big economic impacts in the regions and the rural areas are some of the things that the Nationals and Liberal government refuse to deal with and refuse to put a plan in place to deal with. In the water minister's own electorate, there are towns that have run out of water. I'm not talking about a couple of weeks where they had to be restricted in the way that they were using water. They are trucking water into the water minister's own electorate, and they have been doing that for years. For over 12 months now, water has been trucked into the water minister's own electorate, and yet this report shows—


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