Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Environment Matters

Save our Swan: Greens reveal action plan for the Swan-Canning rivers

Greens Statement

Greens (WA) Water Spokesperson Alison Xamon MLC today released an action plan for reversing the decline of the Swan and Canning rivers due to excessive build-up of nutrients.

"Perth's urban drain network is a major source of the excessive loads of nitrogen and phosphorous entering the Swan-Canning rivers," Ms Xamon said.

"For too long, responsibility for the drains has been a grey area with the main arterial network owned by Water Corporation, and the much larger local drain network managed by local governments.

"In both cases, there is no obligation under law for the drain manager to ensure water quality reaches a certain standard, and even if there was, there is currently no agency empowered to monitor to ensure those standards are met.

"Local governments cannot be expected to cover the enormous cost of retrofitting better drain design, so we need to see the State Government step up.

"The Greens would ask the Economic Regulation Authority to analyse a range of funding possibilities including some of the profit currently returned by the Water Corporation as a dividend to Government.

"We also want an independent management body with catchment-wide responsibilities to oversee the drain network, and collate information about each drain's status centrally.

"Right now, the rivers are on life support; more and more oxygenation machines have been installed to try to keep fish alive and algal blooms at bay.

"But we have to fix the cause of the sickness, and that means catchment-wide fertiliser control as well as retrofitting drains as 'living streams' with vegetation to capture nutrients before it reaches the river."

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