God Spare Us From The Government’s “Modellers”

16 Apr

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 16 April 2012:

Dodgy modelling on Murray-Darling plan means consultation falls short

New economic modelling on the Murray-Darling Basin plan shows that the government has failed to consider the economic and social impacts of its draft basin plan. The government must immediately commission new economic research which covers the entire Murray-Darling Basin.

The modelling by Chris Murphy, of Independent Economics, shows that the draft basin plan could lead to the loss of 2100 jobs and a 9 per cent reduction in economic activity in just five towns around Griffith.*

“Chris Murphy is one of Australia’s leading economic modellers. His work shows that the economic impact of the draft could be up to 10 times worse than what the government has admitted to date” said Senator Joyce today.

“The government’s economic modelling of the Basin Plan is a complete farce. It assumes that no irrigator will leave the region after water is bought back from a community. The reality is that Bilbo Baggins gets his cheque and retires to the Gold Coast. I raised this issue with the government almost two years ago in Senate estimates and they have completely ignored it.**

Chris Murphy’s model allows people to move away from irrigation and he shows convincingly that this reason alone makes the difference between his results and the governments.

“With work this dodgy it’s no wonder Tony Burke has yet to get the support of one State Government for the Draft Basin Plan.

“The government can’t reject the findings of this modelling because it has been partly funded by the government through its Strengthening Basin Communities program and Regional Development Australia funding. Unfortunately the funding has only been able to pay for modelling in one of the 21 catchments in the Basin.

“The government must immediately fund more economic modelling for the entirety of the Basin. Without it there can be no guarantee that we will deliver a triple-bottom line outcome.”

* http://www.independenteconomics.com.au/Latest.aspx

** Senator JOYCE—If it is a general equilibrium model, my understanding would be, for example: say I buy a place in Leeton—a town that you did not visit—and the money just goes to everybody in the town, not to the person you actually bought the licence from.

Mr Gooday—You are getting at the way in which we distributed the proceeds of the sale of the licences back into the regional economies. The way we modelled it is what you described. For a region that sold, say, $10 million worth of water entitlements, the modelling was done by putting $10 million back into the region by spreading it across each industry. We recognise in the report that that is probably not the ideal way to do it, but the general equilibrium model does not distinguish between farm households and irrigation households. So we were not able to do it the other way.

Senator JOYCE—It is not even vaguely close to what happens. What happens with the general equilibrium model is: Bilbo Baggins gets $5 million for his water licence and he goes and retires on the coast. He does not go back into town and buy battered savs off the local servo.

Mr Gooday—Yes. And we understand that. I think the real point here is the level at which the general equilibrium model is constructed. It really does not matter how we give the money back. It does not make any great difference to the results, because the regions are rather large, and each of these seven regions contains—

Senator JOYCE—This really brings us to the issue. Given the limitations of this study which we have just spelt out—and that has been in 10 or 15 minutes—in your view, does the study’s conclusion support the minister’s view that the report, and I quote:

… confirms that the Rudd Government’s long-term Water for the Future plan is supporting the future viability of our Basin communities and returning the rivers to health …

Senator NASH—That is hilarious.

Mr Gooday—The report says what the report says.


16 April 2012

5 Responses to “God Spare Us From The Government’s “Modellers””

  1. geoff.c3 April 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    This brings back memories of NSW Fisheries and the then minister Eddie Obied who had commissioned Dominion Consulting who were to make a study of the financial affect of exlusive recreational areas. At a fisheries advisory ommittee meeting the subjet was brought up. The domionan consulting rep said he was only to go as far as the value of the loss of fish at market value. 2 of us, Denis Brown and myself disputed this as a true value of the comunity loss. We claimed the loss of product would have an affect right through to the final consumer. After much heated discussion the chair person, Janet Thompson, asked for the book of agenda for the study, It turned out that it was meant to cover the economics right to the final consumer. The D.C. rep did not appear as scheduled next day or ever again. Wonder what he and Obied had cooked up.

    • Twodogs April 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      What a debacle. NO honest person would construct a cost-benefit analysis without considering factors beyond the price of fish alone. That is simply too disingenuous to be even remotely honest. And Eddie Obeid, of all people! Who would have thought?!

  2. Kevin Moore April 17, 2012 at 9:00 am #


    Australia signed the Law of the Sea Treaty in 1994. The ramifications can be seen here –


  3. Twodogs April 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    He who pays the piper calls the tune. You can safely assume that any commissioning of a report by the Labor government would support government policy and agenda. It’s simply a matter of finding the falsities.

    The big problem is that Labor will learn from this “mistake” and ensure no contrary opinion is ever publicly funded ever again.

  4. William Tonner April 18, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    The Government (Federal, State and Local) are simply, rolling out United Nations Agenda 21. (renamed by Clinton advisor J. Gary Lawrence, to hide it from the people, “Sustainable Development”, “Smart Growth”etc. etc.)

    Rural communities and small townships are marked for oblivion. They are deemed (by Agenda 21) to be “Unsustainable”.

    View, “Agenda 21-Explained” and “Rosa Koire-Behind the Green Mask” on YouTube”.

    God Help Us All!

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