GLASS HALF EMPTY WITH NO NATIONAL STORMWATER POLICY

26 August 2015

Senate inquiry in Adelaide today will hear how:glass half empty with no national stormwater policy.

  • Call for national stormwater policy to boost productivity
  • Questions whether State Governments and their water utilities are locking up funding

Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, said today’s Senate Inquiry into stormwater harvesting would point the way towards a national stormwater policy that, with adequate funding from all tiers of government, could unlock billions in lost productivity each year.

Each year 3,000 billion litres of stormwater runs off, mainly into creeks and the sea - greater than the 2,100 billion litres of water used by Australia’s cities.

The inquiry by the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee will hold a public hearing from 11am to 4pm today at the Quest on Franklin, 74 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

Further details of the Inquiry are at: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Stormwater

The Inquiry was instigated by Senator Xenophon who, in 2009 as part of his negotiations with the Rudd Government, secured $200 million in extra funding for stormwater harvesting, which has been used for projects across the nation. However, since then stormwater funding has dried up, with potential future projects stalled.

The Inquiry has received submissions and tomorrow will hear experts on stormwater and water policy outline how Australia should move to let stormwater policy into the wider policy framework on water.

“A federal stormwater initiative is needed to unlock huge productivity gains for Australia - in water savings and flood and flash-flood preparations,” said Nick. “A sustainable funding model is also needed. Questions have to be asked about the states' jealous guarding of billions in water utility dividends each year, and the billions of dollars spent on desalination plants – with huge maintenance and even greater running costs. These appear the reasons why stormwater funding has stalled.”

“Like the debate on the future of the River Murray – only the Federal Government has the muscle to set a stormwater policy framework and organise the necessary funding. To date it seems to have abandoned its national leadership and funding role."

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