The Coalition Government has released its Water Recovery Strategy for the Murray-Darling Basin. The Strategy outlines how the Government will return the Murray Darling Basin river system to health by recovering 2750 billion litres of surface water for the environment.
It is essential that investment in our river system continues and I am pleased that the focus will be on sensible measures for water recovery including water infrastructure projects and capped buybacks.
Two thirds of the surface water required for the Sustainable Diversion Limits outlined in the Murray Darling Basin Plan has already been recovered.
The focus will continue to be on infrastructure including $2.3 billion in Australian Government funding over the next 4 years for rural water use and water saving infrastructure projects.
Water buybacks have been capped at 1500 billion litres and will progress slowly over the next three years. As Basin communities know, non-strategic buybacks have been very damaging for the future of our towns.
The Murray Darling Basin is rightly considered Australia’s food bowl and this will be the case for decades to come.
Last year I was lucky enough to be able to host the Young Australian of the Year, Akram Azimi, in the Electorate. Akram is an inspirational young man and the students that he was able to meet with on his visit were universally impressed with how he had overcome challenges as a refugee from Afghanistan to give back to the community.
Akram has credited vaccinations, which were paid for by Rotary, for his safe passage through Pakistan where he was at risk of contracting Polio. Akram has continued to promote the work of Rotary and worldwide Polio eradication.
This year the Prime Minister announced an Australian Government commitment of $100 million over 5 years for polio eradication through Rotary’s international program. This is a great commitment to a very worthwhile cause and will hopefully see further progress towards complete eradication of polio.
The Australian of the Year nominations are open until 1st August in 4 major categories including Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Australia’s Local Hero.
I encourage nominations of Australians who, like Akram, have helped to make a difference in the lives of others.