Is Australia doing everything it can to meet SDG6?
SDG6 is the sixth of 17 sustainable development goals outlined by the United Nations. These goals have been developed to work towards the UN's 'Agenda 2030', which aims to end poverty, provide a healthy environment for all human beings, and to sustainably manage our natural resources. This will ensure continued quality of life for all of us as we move into the future.
Australia ranks at #20, according to a recent report compiled by the UN which tested countries' progress towards fulfilling the 17 goals. While we're in the top 15 per cent thanks to the developments we have already made, we still have a long way to go. SDG6 requires "availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all." We are doing pretty well on this goal - however, some of our most vulnerable citizens are being left behind. What can we do to improve?
How the private sector is driving change?
In the water sector, our private companies are taking initiative and trying to do more.
Firstly, it's important to note that much of the progress already made has come from the private sector. Kathryn Silvester of the Australian Water Association stated that "in the water sector, our private companies are taking initiative and trying to do more, but the effort seems to be bottom up. It's not really trickling down from the top yet."
Ms Silvester has outlined how many remote communities across Australia are still wanting for clean and reliable sources of water. Numerous private companies have worked with local authorities to provide sustainable access to these communities, and one example comes from South Australia based company Australian Water Environments. They recently installed nine new groundwater pumps in the remote APY Lands of SA. Through liaising with the local communities and governing bodies, the project was successful and has provided a clean source of water for over 2,500 residents.
What can the government do to catch up?
The government have certainly assisted with many projects. However, the time has come to move forward. Ms Silvester believes that there needs to be an ongoing public conversation about the issue of sustainable water supply and treatment in remote communities. This way, key players looking to drive change can be identified, and from there, the government can partner with these companies to push for solutions across the board, providing this essential resource to those who need it.
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