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Water - all parties could do better

The Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) believes there is only partial and in principle commitment to protecting water by all the major parties.

All parties are committed to national planning on water including support for the Council of Australian Government's Agreement (CoAG) on the National Water Initiative.

However PolMin Coordinator Victoria Kearney stated: "After a detailed policy analysis both major parties still reflect an economic position on water as a resource. Water should not be seen merely as an economic commodity for profit. Water is a part of our environmental security, which needs to protected for the common good."

Water is still not taken sufficiently seriously as a policy issue, Ms Kearney believes. "The trading of water, yes, the economic management of water - these things are what matter, to the Coalition in particular," Ms Kearney continued. "But there are a whole raft of measures that still need to be addressed, such as decreased government jurisdictional barriers, national incentives for water use and reuse technology, and education and change in agricultural practices," Ms Kearney said.

PolMin welcomes the coming launch of the Bishops Pastoral statement on the Murray Darling Basin at Echuca on the 11th October following the election. Ms Kearney said that Polmin urges voters when they vote to remember the situation of with those who live, protect and use our water supplies to provide urban food security. Catholics should take equally seriously the fact that the waterways of the Murray Darling Basin are also places for spiritual renewal.

While PolMin welcomes the Government's planning frameworks, now in place, the community should remain mindful of hidden agendas. "There is a concern that such a National Water Commission and Water Management Fund may become a vehicle for international trade pressures on investments in water and water infrastructure," she warned.

PolMin has reviewed the water policies of all parties in relation to aspects of its Federal election agenda.

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  • VOTING FOR THE COMMON GOOD 2004

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