Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Penny Wong rolls up her sleeves and gets on with the job

The new Federal Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator Penny Wong, is doing what the Howard Government failed to do over a decade. She has announced that the Commonwealth has begun a $50 million buy-back of water licenses in the Murray Darling Basin in order to return some environmental flow to this significant river system.
The move doesn't really go far enough but it's a good start.
Australia is going to have to face the fact that it needs to reduce the total number of irrigated farms, in order to ensure future national water security. Even if it means that the next couple of decades will see a reduced variety of vegetables and fruit on offer in the market place while the agricultural sector adjusts.
This new Federal Government can sometimes irritate and disappoint, but it's moments like these when it becomes clear exactly why the Australian electorate preferred Labor over the Coalition.
So Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt can say; "The defining failure of the first 100 days of the Rudd Government has been their inaction on the Murray," but he is patently whistling in the wind. 

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