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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

22 July 2004

The Murray dries up under Labor


The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today labelled Labor's River Murray policy a "joke" after it was revealed in "The Age" that OppositionLeader Mark Latham had downgraded the ALP's commitment to restoring the Murray from $350 million to $150 million.

Senator Campbell said $150 million was grossly inadequate for the task.

"It goes nowhere near the commitment of $500 million to restore up to 500 gigalitres of environmental water to the River Murray over five years."

The Age reported that the ALP's decision to dramatically downgrade its commitment to the Murray was part of an across-the-board slashing of commitments by Latham Labor to balance its budget.

Senator Campbell said it was clear that Labor's plan to dramatically reduce its commitment to the Murray had actually been made weeks ago.

"Its website carried the $350 million pledge for some time, but then that number simply disappeared, to be replaced by the much reduced figure," he said.

"This sends a very clear message to all those interested in the fate of the River Murray that Mark Latham is not, and it means that any promises he makes on the environment have to be seen as temporary."

Commonwealth of Australia