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Joint Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
&
Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
The Hon Gary Nairn MP

4 November 2005

Another NWI project - WA missing out


The States and Territories who are party to the National Water Initiative continue to see the benefits flow to them with further funding announced today under the Australian Government Water Fund.

Western Australia is the only State that has not signed up to the National Water Initiative.

Representing the Prime Minister today, Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck announced another Australian Government investment in a project that will contribute significantly to the sustainable management of water resources across Tasmania. Tasmania signed on to the National Water Initiative on 2 June 2005. (Senator Colbeck’s press release is available at www.psmaff.gov.au)

Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Gary Nairn, said that today's announcement adds Tasmania to the list of beneficiaries of Australian Government Water funding for future water management. Today's announcement brings the total investment under Water Smart Australia to over $335 million for 12 major projects with a combined value of more than $915 million.

Through the $2 billion Australian Government Water Fund, the Australian Government will provide capped funding up to $2.5 million over two years towards a $3.19 million project to develop comprehensive scientific information on water resources across Tasmania. The Tasmanian Government will provide a contribution of $690 000 towards the project.

Only those State and Territory Governments which have signed the National Water Initiative are eligible to make bids under the Australian Government Water Fund.

"This project will provide accurate and comprehensive information across 54 surface water catchments and 20 groundwater systems and will underpin the sustainable planning and management of water across Tasmania," Mr Nairn said.

"Sound water management requires sound information and these are exactly the types of opportunities that Western Australia is missing out on by not being a part of the national framework," Mr Nairn said.

Senator Campbell said that so long as Western Australia is not a signatory to the National Water Initiative the state government will not be eligible to receive federal funding.

"The people of Tasmania are benefiting by being a part of the National Water Initiative and it concerns me that Western Australia will potentially miss out on millions of dollars that could support the sustainable management of our state's water resources," Senator Campbell said.

"The National Water Initiative provides a real opportunity for Western Australia - at no cost."

The Australian Government Water Fund

The Australian Government Water Fund is a $2 billion investment in water solutions for current and future generations.

The Fund is a major investment by the Australian Government in water infrastructure, improved water management, and better practices in the stewardship of Australia’s scarce water resources. It will create opportunities for industries, for investment and for jobs while at the same time protecting and restoring our environment.

The Fund comprises three programmes - the $1.6 billion Water Smart Australia programme, the $200 million Raising National Water Standards programme and the $200 million Community Water Grants programme.

Water Smart Australia funding to date:

    Funding ($m)
Jurisdiction Projects
Approved
to date
Federal State or
Territory
Industry Local Gov’t or
Water Authority
Total
QLD 4 72.2 29 0 43.1 144.3
VIC 3 188 189 167 2.5 546.5
NSW 1 55 55 50 0 160
SA 3 18.2 36.8 6.8 0 61.8
TAS 1 2.5 0.7 0 0 3.2
NT 0 0 0 0 0 0
ACT 0 0 0 0 0 0
WA* 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 12 335.9 310.5 223.8 45.6 915.8
* Western Australia Government projects not eligible for funding

Further information on projects approved under the Australian Government Water Fund is available at the National Water Commission web site – www.nwc.gov.au

Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

Commonwealth of Australia