Catholic News - Catholic Telecommunications, a devision of Catholic Resources





Catholics lobby urges Senate to protect water

The PolMin Catholics lobby group has issued a reminder that the Australia - US Free Trade Agreement being debated by the Senate from today, leaves open the possibility of foreign investment in Australia's waters.

PolMin - the Australian Political Ministry Network - is asking Senators to support amendments which exclude water from foreign investment and reject this Agreement on the grounds that water is a natural resource, part of creation for all to share and as such should not be part of a push for international competition and investment.

PolMin water campaign coordinator Victoria Kearney said yesterday that Australians need to change their community and business attitudes to resource use.

"Water should not be commodified in this way," she said. "Water is part of the common gifts and privatisation of a natural resource is not in the interest of the common good for all Australians."

Ms Kearney said the US Free Trade Agreement has not excluded water resources and infrastructure from the service investment section of the Agreement.

"Australians need to act immediately," she said. "PolMin believes the Senate Committee has railroaded community submissions in order to recommend this Trade Agreement be accepted by Parliament."

"PolMin does not support our government signing agreements which encourage withdrawal from the UN watchdog Committees. The Senate Treaties Committee interestingly has recommended Australia's withdrawal from the UN agricultural Committee at the same time. Water and agriculture should not be left open to whims of corporate investment."

PolMin urges Senate to protect water as a resource (Australian Political Ministry Ltd 3/8/04)

Lobbyists welcome cross border water agreement (CathNews 29/6/04)
Activists call attention to the misuse of water and need for conservation (CathNews 22/6/04)
Pope's speech reflects concern over privatisation of water (CathNews 5/3/04)
>Religious urge Free Trade water exclusion (CathNews 2/12/04)
Catholic lobbyist says water reform 'beyond politics' (CathNews 11/8/03)
A Water Ethic to Renew the Earth (National Catholic Rural Life Conference USA)

4 Aug 2004