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How do the federal election policies of the major parties support water security for all Australians?

The Australian Water Association recently wrote to all the major political parties and asked them to provide their water policies ahead of the coming election.

We are pleased to share this information with our members.

If you would like more information about any of these policies please contact the relevant political parties concerned.

The Association will be issuing a discussion paper this week ‘Water Security for all Australians’ that incorporates the responses from the political parties. The Association looks forward to working with whoever is in power to implement sustainable water policies in the future.

The Australian Greens

The centrepiece of the Greens’ policy is the establishment of a Sustainable Water Institute from 2017, a research hub to improve urban water use and build water resilience. The Greens would also see sustainable water use included as a compulsory element of planning in Commonwealth, State and Territory water reform legislation and agreements.

The Greens support the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and want to see the return of water to environmental flows through improved irrigation water efficiency and the buyback of entitlements in severely degraded and over-allocated systems.  They believe the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must have an opportunity to participate in water catchment planning and management, and that there should be no new large-scale dams on Australian rivers.

Download the full policy statement here

The Australian Labor Party

The ALP would move the water portfolio back to the Department of Environment to ensure a whole of government coordination.  It also supports the Murray Darling Basin Plan and would continue plans to control European carp.

The ALP would extend the water trigger in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act to include shale and tight formation gas projects to further mitigate risks to our water resources.

The ALP’s remaining focus is on research, innovation and climate change. It would reverse recent funding cuts to the CSIRO, increase its funding by $249 million over four years, and invest $50 million in climate and reef research.  With regard for the impact of climate change on water security, the ALP commit to a Climate Change Action Plan with targets to achieve significant emission reductions.

Download the full policy statement here

The Liberal-National Coalition

The Coalition statement recognises the important leadership role of the Commonwealth. They will encourage the States and Territories to fully implement the NWI because the Coalition believes that would deliver effective water planning, secure water entitlements, and ensure the risks associated with changes in future water availability are shared between governments and water users.

The rest of the policy focuses primarily on infrastructure to provide water for agriculture, specifically dams and pipelines. Like the Greens and the ALP, the Coalition supports the Murray Darling Basin Plan. The Coalition is investing in investigations, feasibility studies and business cases for projects to develop catchments, to improve water efficiency in agriculture, and to re-use urban water for agricultural purposes. Thirdly, through a $500 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and a $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility, the LCN will fund up to 50% of major water infrastructure projects.

Download the full policy statement here

The Nick Xenophon Team

The NXT policy focuses primarily on storm water capture. NXT believes that as part of the development of the National Storm Water Initiative, the Australian, state and territory governments should consider new funding models and financial incentives that would facilitate improved storm water management outcomes in an economically efficient way.

They also believe that wasteful practices through-out the Murray Darling Basin must be addressed as a matter of urgency to ensure a fair distribution of water rights across the entire system.

Download the full policy statement here