Australian Conservatives party leader and federal senator Cory Bernardi has called on the federal government to commit to further funding to help double the size of the desalination plant proposed at Sleaford, at the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula.
The Port Lincoln Times reports, the current proposal is for an $80 million desalination plant funded by the state government, which is expected to provide 2-3 gigalitres of treated water.
Senator Bernardi says he wants the federal government to chip in more in order to not only improve water quality on the Lower Eyre Peninsula, but the water security too.
“I think the desal plant is a great initiative,” he said.
“But I think you could double the size with a bit of money from the commonwealth, a modest amount of money, 20 or 30 million. That would give not only an enhanced quality of water but i think it would give extra water security for the Lower Eyre Peninsula.” He said during an election time period was the best possible time to be advocating and lobbying governments for these sorts of initiatives.
“I think the federal government should (fund it) because it’s an investment in water quality, there’s an environmental investment, less reliance on the Murray and it would be positive for upstream people,” the Senator continued.
“If we’re not taking out of the Murray some of that water can be allocated to environmental flows or to irrigation which is good for the state,” he said.
He said the example of the Adelaide desalination plant showed it could be done in principle.
“I may stand corrected on this but if you look at the same principle, they doubled the size of the Adelaide desal plant at about a 30 percent increase of the cost,” he said.
“Now under the same parameters you could probably get 20 or 30 million dollars for that extra 2 or 3 gigalitres. And that’s what we’re trying to do is come up with practical ideas for South Australia that are going to prove a direct benefit to one section of the state, but have flow on effects that are positive effects for the rest of the state,” Senator Bernardi concluded.