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What are the Labor priorities for the water sector?

With South Australia’s state election drawing near, Minister for Water Ian Hunter said one of his priorities moving into 2018 will be to continue the fight for the River Murray’s health to ensure the state’s water security.

Hunter recently presented at the SA Water Outlook Briefing, discussing the future of the state’s water sector in preparation for the state election, along with Shadow Minister David Spiers and Water Industry Alliance CEO Rachel Barratt.

Hunter said ensuring the sustainable use of South Australia’s primary water source is crucial to the future of all businesses that rely on water for productivity.

“One of my priorities leading into 2018 will be to safeguard and deliver South Australia’s water security, and the ongoing discussions around the River Murray and the Basin agreement are key to achieving that objective,” Hunter said.

“Nothing works in South Australia without a working River Murray. Our water security, and our whole economy, turns on the River Murray being healthy and sustainable into the future.

“So many South Australian industries require water at one level or another. The fight for the River Murray is crucial across so many levels.”

Furthermore, Hunter said the Labor Government intends to work on bringing the electricity and water sectors closer together to support more integrated management practices.

“There are an immense amount of synergies between water and energy, and the closer partnership we can get, the better,” Hunter said.

“We believe that securing the electricity sector in government will enable a much firmer control over the state’s water security into the long-term.”

With regards to the support of the state’s water businesses, Hunter said encouraging collaboration by bringing people in the sector together to share ideas and experiences will be key to expanding South Australia’s water expertise into global markets.

“The real challenge is bringing everybody together and encouraging them to lift their eyes to the future, to see what the benefits of expanding their business will be,” Hunter said.

“We get water pressures in South Australia earlier and more heavily than other places. This gives us direct experience to what other countries will be requiring in future when they are challenged with global warming.

“We can see it in South Africa right now with the challenges for their water supply services.

“My vision for the South Australian water sector is for it to be forward thinking, to look to the future and to be ahead of the game by finding solutions for our water constrained world,” Hunter added.