FORMER Waverley councillor Tim Holding returned to his political nursery as a State Government minister with a fistful of portfolios at a Monash Business Awards event in Mulgrave last Wednesday.

Mr Holding, the Minister for Water, Finance, Workcover

and the TAC, Tourism and Major Events, spruiked the

Government’s case for how it was addressing “one of the great issues of our time”:water.

He ruled out the use of recyled water for drinking purposes.

Instead, recycled water was being planned for use as cooling water for coal-fired power stations and agricultural uses.

During a wide-ranging speech, he admitted the plans for a desalination plant and a north-south pipeline were “controversial”, but he said the projects would secure safe drinking water supplies for decades.

The desalination plant, which is set to create 150 billion litres of drinking water annually from 2011, was important because it was not dependent on rainfall, Mr Holding said.

He said Victoria was in the grip of the worst drought in recorded history, with the lowest-ever water inflows into storages and tributaries observed in 2006.

He said Victoria shouldn’t “put all its eggs in one basket” and rely solely on dams, which filled during wet periods but were “drawn down” during dry spells.

Mr Holding, who was a councillor in the 1990s, talked up Monash’s transformation, including the creation of the Waverley Park suburb, the burgeoning technology precinct headed by the Australian Synchrotron, and the growing Glen Waverley entertainment-hotel precinct.

At the lunch, Bestchance Child Family Care in Glen Waverley was named as the latest Monash Business Awards nominee for 2008.