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Senate passes Rhiannon/Xenophon motion to retain the National Water Commission

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 17 Jul 2014

The Senate today passed a motion from Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and independent Senator Nick Xenophon calling on the federal government to retain the National Water Commission.

"Today we have seen that commitment to protect our water cuts across party lines. The motion passed with the support of Senators Nick Xenophon, Ricky Muir and John Madigan as well as the Greens and Labor," said Senator Lee Rhiannon.

"The Abbott government's recent decision to close down the National Water Commission follows the closure of state water oversight bodies.

"Now, more than ever, we need independent scrutiny of our water policies. This motion sends a strong message to the Coalition government that they should reverse their position on the National Water Commission.

"The role the National Water Commission plays in assessing the National Water Initiative, auditing the Murray Darling Basin Plan, and driving water reform is vital.

"Water is under threat from multiple sources - from climate change and the mining industry, to El Nino and the associated risk of drought this brings. Now it is under threat from the Coalition.

"Independent oversight of water policy is fundamental to ensuring we are able to face these challenges. Only this week, a report has shown that water rights in the Hunter Valley are disproportionately allocated to the mining industry.

"Water is necessary for the economy, and to our very survival. Now is not the time to be gutting our expertise on this vital issue.

"The Government must reverse its decision to shut down the National Water Commission - the only independent voice on water policy," said Senator Rhiannon.

Contact: 0487 350 880That the Senate:

MOTION

1. Notes:
a) Water is one of our most important resources and is critical to Australia's economic growth;
b) The National Water Commission plays a crucial role in monitoring, auditing and assessing water policy;
c) The independence of the National Water Commission is vital to its effectiveness;
d) The 2011 COAG review of the National Water Commission stated that the Commission should continue ‘for the lifetime of the NWI' and ‘without sunset provision until the NWI is substantially replaced'.

2. Calls on the government to reverse its position on the closure of the National Water Commission.

Senator Lee Rhiannon Senator Nick Xenophon

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