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SA Budget funds represent missed opportunities

Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young has pointed to extra millions for Adelaide’s desalination plant and a drop in money for water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin as the weak links in South Australia’s allocation in the Federal Budget.

An extra $228 million was provided for Adelaide’s desalination plant on the agreement that it double its output from 50GL to 100GL per year, while $16.4 million over two years was cut from water reform programs for the Murray-Darling Basin.

“This Budget represents a missed opportunity to transition to a green economy and a more sustainable future for South Australia,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Why would we cut funding for water reform, at a time when we are facing the biggest crisis we have ever seen throughout the Basin?

“The $228 million for Adelaide’s energy-guzzling, effluent-producing desalination plant would have been better spent on water efficiency measures and in particular, stormwater infrastructure.

“The Federal and State Governments will now be propelling South Australia’s water future even further down the wrong path. It’s economically and environmentally irresponsible, and will saddle South Australians with an ongoing energy cost.”

Senator Hanson-Young also pointed to a lack of investment in renewable energy as a Budget disappointment.

“A single coal project in New South Wales will receive almost the same amount of money as the entire $1.5 billion Solar Flagship program over the next six years.

“For South Australia, with no coal industry, but an abundance of sunshine, we’ve missed out on being supported in leading the nation’s transformation to renewable energy.”

Senator Hanson-Young welcomed the Budget spending on South Australia’s public transport, with $294 million to modernise the Gawler rail line, $291 million to extend the Noarlunga rail line to Seaford, and $61 million to extend the O-Bahn through the Adelaide CBD.

“The Greens are pleased that the Government have allocated some funds to improving Adelaide’s public transport network, which is so important in the battle against climate change,” she said.

Senator Hanson-Young also welcomed the $32.49 a week increase in the pension, which the Greens had long campaigned for, though condemned single parents and the unemployed missing out.

“It’s a win for pensioners, and for the Greens, that the Government has agreed to an increase of just over $30 a week for a large group of Australians who deserve it.

“It’s just a shame that the pain in this Budget will have to be carried by single parents and the unemployed, with no increase in income support for them.”

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