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Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders

5 May 2005

Warnings of water shortages if Carr won't act on water recycling


NSW's Auditor General has warned Sydney could be heading for a water supply crisis if the Carr Government continues to turn its back on alternative water sources. This backs up calls by Parliamentary Secretary Mr Greg Hunt MP and Member for Wentworth Mr Malcolm Turnbull MP for Carr to free up billions of litres of usable water by investing in waste-water recycling.

The Auditor General's report warned that the smallest variation to Sydney Water's forecasts on population growth and rainfall levels could see the dam levels sliding dangerously, with no solution in sight.

"This is just further proof that action and leadership are needed now to protect Sydney's water supply for tomorrow," said Mr Hunt.

"Recycling of waste water is the answer Sydney needs to protect and conserve its fresh water supplies into the future.

"The Carr Government is currently letting Sydney Water spew billions of tonnes of raw and partially treated sewage into the sea just off Sydney's beaches.

"Not only is this endangering the health of the people who swim, fish and live along the coastline, it is also wasting billions of litres of water that could be safely treated for use by industry and agriculture.

'This is water that the people of Sydney desperately need. Instead of spewing it out off the coastline, Carr should be recycling it. This report confirms our grave concerns about the foresight of the Carr Government.

"This government's short term failure to protect its citizens is totally unacceptable, but its unwillingness to face its mistakes and set up a long term solution is utterly incomprehensible.

"The people of Sydney deserve better. The Carr Government must invest in treatment plants to recycle this sewage, to bring down the toxic burden on our beaches and safeguard Sydney's water supply.

"I fear we will never see this happen without foresight and investment by state governments and private industry.

"By locking up access to Sydney's water supply, Carr is guaranteeing that the solution Sydney so desperately needs continues to be blown out to sea.

Commonwealth of Australia