National Water Initiative lacks urgency & clear direction
In March 2006, one year since conducting its first review of infrastructure policy, the Business Council of Australia (BCA) said it had doubts over the ability of the National Water Initiative to solve the water crisis and deliver infrastructure reform, though it also said that reforming rural and urban water infrastructure could add between $6 billion and $8 billion a year to the economy.
The BCA found of all areas reviewed like energy and transport, only water policy did not see significant progress. It said the NWI is missing targets, like the creation of a national water trading market and finding more barriers than solutions.
The BCA’s Maria Tarrant said in March that her organisation was giving the Council of Australian Governments until the end of the year to reinvigorate the National Water Initiative and further develop water trading.
In September 2006 Maria Tarrant is calling for leadership and longterm planning. The new BCA report warns that unless serious changes to water policy are made, the economy will suffer. The report says:
The parliamentary secretary with responsibility for water, Malcolm Turnbull, says: “It makes no more sense to have long-term rationing of water in our large coastal cities than it does to have long-term rationing of electricity. We can, whether through recycling or desalination, make as much water as we need.
“We have to rank the various sources of additional water on an economic cost basis and recognise that some methods of saving or creating water will be much more expensive than others.”
The Opposition’s water spokesman, Anthony Albanese, welcomed the council’s report.
“Part of the solution has to be an increase in water recycling and our national target of 30 per cent by 2015 is an initiative that the Federal Government should follow if it’s serious,” he said.
The Sydney Morning Herald says the real shortage is in brains not in water – what do you think?