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Budget call to improve regional water supply and quality

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Health and social welfare groups are calling on the state government to take measures to ensure communities in regional and remote South Australia have access to safe and affordable drinking water ahead of tomorrow’s State Budget.

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Their call comes as the State Government progresses work on its draft Water Security Statement for South Australia – the first major statewide strategy for water security for over a decade.

A report in May found a lack of government action and accountability had left some regional towns and communities without safe, reliable water supplies.

“Water is just simply fundamental,” said SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley.

“People need access to safe, secure, and affordable water as one of the essentials of life. Communities need water to survive and thrive. And of course water also supports businesses, agriculture and industry.”

“Unfortunately in some areas of South Australia, people are living without that most basic of necessities. This is not something that gets a lot of attention, unless an issue flares up in the media somewhere, but it is a day-to-day reality for some communities in regional and remote SA.”

“We are calling for a more ambitious vision which ensures access to safe, affordable and secure water supply for communities right across South Australia. We need a proactive plan, rather than dealing with issues in a reactive way when they arise or hit the headlines.”

The submission is from SACOSS together with the Public Health Association Australia SA Branch, Australian Medical Association (South Australia), Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, Doctors for the Environment Australia, Community Centres SA, Consumers SA and the Council on the Ageing SA, have united in a call for action and leadership.

“This is the moment to do something – to once and for all address the embarrassing state of affairs where some citizens in our state do not have access to clean, affordable and reliable drinking water,” Womersley said.

The recent ‘Falling through the gaps’ report commissioned by SACOSS and released in May, highlighted a gap in policy, planning and regulation in ensuring standards of water services in regional and remote communities in SA.

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