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Deputy PM grilled on Murray-Darling

20 OCTOBER 2003

Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson will be questioned how landmark decisions on water allocation will affect school students in years to come during a Talkback Classroom interview at the National Museum of Australia tomorrow.

The interview is part of the National Museum's partnership with the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, giving rural and regional students the new communication tools to play an active part in managing natural and cultural resources.

"This is the first in a series of projects which give people the ability to connect across the Murray-Darling Basin and beyond," says the National Museum's Information and Communications Technology Director, Darren Peacock.

Mr Anderson will be quizzed about plans to return water to the ailing Murray-Darling system and balancing the region's competing agricultural and environmental needs.

The Nationals leader will be speaking from the Museum's Canberra broadcast studio, in a direct video link with three students attending the International River Health Conference in Mildura.

The nationally drawn student panel includes three Year 11 students: Wes Parker of Urrbrae Agricultural High School in Adelaide, Kloe Croker of Boorowa Central School in New South Wales and Georgia Bright of Brisbane Girls Grammar School.

The interview is part of Talkback Classroom, which gives students access to key politicians and public figures as part of the national civics curriculum. The Museum and Murray-Darling partnership is funded by an Australian Research Council grant.

The live public interview will be held in the National Museum's Canberra Studio at 4pm on Tuesday, 21 October, with the students at Ornamental Lakes Park, near the Mildura Bridge.

Student preparation for the interview included a meeting with Australian Conservation Foundation President Peter Garrett.

The interview will also be streamed live on the web at: www.nma.gov.au/studio.

Other Talkback Classroom guests ahead this year are Labor leadership challenger Kim Beazley and Shadow Treasurer Mark Latham next month.

For more information please contact Martin Portus on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or m.portus@nma.gov.au