Tag Archives: MDBA

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.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=@Hansard/S13017.pdf

16 April 2012

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Faked GDP, Faked Budgets, Faked Legal Advice – Nothing To See Here

28 Mar

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 28 March 2012 (my emphasis added):

Government response keeps Murray-Darling in the dark on the Water Act

The Labor government has once again refused to release legal advice on the Water Act in defiance of the recommendations of a Senate inquiry.

Last year, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee found that the provisions of the Water Act create a legal framework where “environmental considerations can be, and are, given substantially more ‘weight’ than social and economic considerations.”

Even the Greens, in their dissenting report, admitted the same stating that “the MDBA and the Minister are required to give environmental considerations precedence in developing the Basin Plan.”

The difference is that the Greens agree with this unbalanced outcome, the Committee recommended the Act be changed to fix it and that all of the government’s legal advice be released.

The Committee’s recommendations were based on legal advice from many sources including an ‘in camera’ briefing from former MDBA chair, Mike Taylor, submissions from Professor George Williams, Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales, and Professor John Briscoe of Harvard University.

The government’s response to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s Water Act inquiry has also called into question the validity of the summary legal advice the government has previously released.

So far the government has released just 10 pages of the more than 1000 pages of legal advice they have received on the Water Act.

In its response today, the government claims that the summary legal advice it has made public is “distinguished” from other legal advice because it was prepared on the understanding that it would be made public.

This calls into question whether the summary advice is a full and accurate reflection of the other advice the government has received.

The Murray-Darling is too important for the government to keep it in the dark. It must release all of the legal advice before the basin plan is finalised.

The Murray-Darling is home to 2.1 million Australians, provides water for 1 million others and produces 40 per cent of Australia’s agricultural output, including 9 of every 10 Australian oranges.

Over the past two years, we have seen that the Rudd-Gillard-Swan ALP government has faked GDP, and faked budgets, by becoming adept in the “dark arts” and “using some of what are now  the standard tricks in order to (in the words of former Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner) “maximise political appearances”.

Now, thanks to Senator Joyce, we see that they will happily fake legal advice as well.

Funnily enough, the ALP and the Greens have recently expressed “confidence” that their carbon tax CO2 derivatives scam legislation is legally sound, and does not breach the Constitution.

Hmmmm.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to see their actual legal advice.

You know.

The advice they have not released to the public.

What would be even more interesting is to see their legislation challenged in the High Court.

For that, it seems our fate is in the hands of big-promising-non-delivering Coalition State Governments.

And National Living Treasure, Clive Palmer.

Green-Labor Abuse “Science” On Water

14 Feb

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 14 February 2012:

Murray-Darling Plan must be based on best available science not out of date data

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority is relying on out of date data for its recommendations to take 2,750 gigalitres from productive use in the Murray-Darling Basin, said Senator Barnaby Joyce today.

“We are borrowing billions from overseas to buy water, which could put towns out of production, in the middle of a flood period. There must be something slightly incongruous about this, which at the very least requires the updating of models with easily accessible current information.

“It was revealed at Senate estimates today that the MDBA has calculated the average inflows into the Murray-Darling by taking a simple average from 114 years of data, from 1895 to 2009.

“There are lies, damn lies and statistics, or so said Disraeli, but it seems convenient that the dataset used to calibrate water in the Murray-Darling Basin begins and ends with Australia’s two biggest recorded droughts. The federation drought conveniently becomes one bookend of the statistics, and the recent millennium drought becomes the other. The other side of these two periods are some of the wettest times in Australia’s history, the one we are living through now and the one that included the 1891 floods.

“At least the figures should be current and include the most recent figures, as I continually hear this discussion about current changes to climate. The data must surely include the current rain events that have flooded my local town three times in the last two years, which we have all no doubt seen on the news.

“We are going to spend over $100 million just developing the Basin Plan which is not even based on up to date information.

“The government must update the figures.”

14 February 2012

More information:

Matthew Canavan – 0458 709 433

“Our Debt Has A Life Of Its Own And Is Out Of Control”

7 Dec

Barnaby writes for The Drum, on Their ABC (h/t @margotdate):

What to do with all this water

Why is it that every time the Labor party involve themselves with anything that relates to competency it turns into an unmitigated disaster?

Why is it that every time you look to the details behind their doorstop interview they are just never there? There is a pattern of behaviour that is quite evident in this Green-Labor Party administration. When they announced the NBN, the largest infrastructure program in the nation’s history – larger than the Snowy Mountain Scheme – there was no cost benefit analysis, and of course we are now suffering the affliction of a monster that is starting to commercially wander around the yard in a very similar fashion to a big white elephant.

Our desire to cool the planet via a carbon tax works on the rather peculiar premise that there will be a global climate change agreement by 2015. There is not even a sign of that, but we handed away one of our greatest strategic advantages, cheap power. Australia’s plan is nothing more than a mad gesture which no-one else is following and no-one cares about. On top of this, the only climatic effect it will have is inside buildings rather than outside, as people find they can’t afford to keep themselves warm in winter and cool in summer.

Our debt, which as I stated years ago would get a life of its own and go out of control, now has a life of its own and is increasingly out of control. We are heading towards our third debt ceiling. We have increased the ceiling from $75 billion to $200 billion to $250 billion and it is not stopping.   Lately we have been borrowing $2 billion a week and our Gross Debt is now $221 billion. If we don’t depressingly extend the nation’s credit limit again, then soon the presentation of our nation’s credit card at the checkout will result in the attendant telling us that “transaction declined, see bank for details.”

Now this pathological ineptness in management has arrived in water policy. Your government is now the biggest irrigator in the country through the Environmental Water Holder, Ian Robinson, but instead of watering spuds and onions, they water 2,400 venues for frogs and swamps.

In the very last sentence of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder’s 2010-11 annual report, Mr Robinson states that “the Commonwealth environmental water is required to be managed in accordance with the Environmental Water Plan, which will be set out in the Basin Plan.”

Mr Robinson only wrote this in July this year but it is already out of date. The draft Basin Plan released last month does not include an environmental watering plan.  Instead, that task will now be flicked to state governments, who won’t need to come up with one for another three years.

A farmer will tell you exactly how they get their water, exactly how much water is stored in dams, how much water is lost when it is moved to a field to water a crop and how much water it takes to water a crop through the season.  They will also be able to tell you how much is left to start next year’s crop.

Every farmer has their watering plan. If a farmer didn’t have a watering plan, they wouldn’t be much of a farmer.  The Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder currently has 1,075 GL – 1,075 billion litres – of water. Quite a bit; in fact more than what would fill Sydney Harbour twice and they are buying much more. This is to water 2,442 environmental assets, 2,442 environmental crops so to speak.

But when the very valid question is asked, “where is your watering plan?” the predictable answer comes back – they don’t have one. It’s obviously in the draw with the cost benefit analysis of the NBN, the global modelling of the carbon tax, the plan to control our debt, and a myriad of other incredible statements that come without a clue of how to deliver them.

Australia is merrily spending billions of dollars buying an asset but there is really no plan of where exactly it will come from, how it is to be used or where it will be stored. There is a rough idea, but that’s as good as it gets. When there is no plan, the environmental water is dropped arbitrarily in the river from public dams to flood out farms and close public bridges like it did on the Murrumbidgee earlier in the year, at a time when there was not a cloud in the sky. The environmental benefit of these actions is at best vague most likely unknown.

If I was back with my accountancy hat on, I would make sure I got my money off this Green-Labor client prior to starting their work; from what I have seen they are not going to be with us as a business for long.

Barnaby On Labor’s People Skills

30 Nov

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 30 November 2011:


Crean confuses consult with insult

Well Tony Burke and Simon Crean are doing a job that would make the United Nations proud. They are such good negotiators.

Tony passed through Deniliquin yesterday at around about 30,000 feet and 700 kilometres an hour on his way to somewhere else in an air force jet. That is his way of covering the ground.

Simon was actually in Deniliquin in a meeting with a select panel of people but he appeared to pass through the room at only a slightly lower velocity as Tony was passing overhead. Reports from those at the meeting say that he spoke to the chosen few for less than five minutes on the basin plan (See Attachment)*.

Simon has obviously come to the conclusion that unfortunately you have to actually go to a place before you put out a media release. He has yet to learn that you should actually make your media release an accurate reflection of the visit.

The bush telegraph is a pretty good honesty serum when it is matched up to his media release.

If you didn’t laugh you would cry because this is the process that is dealing with the mechanism that feeds Australia and keeps the cost of living on groceries down for working families across our major cities.

If they show the same management acumen as they showed with ceiling insulation, when they set fire to 194 houses, or the crisis budget for a crisis government, which has just informed us that we are going to break through our third debt ceiling, or the rollicking fiasco of the carbon tax on our solo crusade to cool the planet from a room in Canberra, then I have a real fear for what is about to happen to Australia’s food basket.

It looks awfully like the Labor dynamic duo of Simon and Tony would find the job so much easier if they didn’t have to deal with people.

*2011 11 30 MGCC Press Release – Crean’s hollow launch (click to download pdf)

Click to enlarge

Barnaby: Quagmire Just Got Deeper

26 Nov

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Quagmire just got deeper

The Murray-Darling Basin is often viewed as a network of inter-connected garden hoses, where if you drop a litre of water in at Toowoomba, and wait long enough, it will eventually all run out at the Lower Lakes in South Australia.

The reality is that it is more in the nature of a big old dry carpet laid flat on your back lawn. If you tip a bucket of water at the top end it is highly unlikely to wet the feet of someone standing in the far lower corner. For an example, the town of St George is over 1,500 km from the mouth of Murray yet it is only 200 metres higher than sea level. You can only move water across a carpet if it is saturated.

The virtual release of all but the actual draft to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan appears to be dire for my area of St George and many other agricultural towns. Showcasing the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s aptitude for inclusive consultation, ABC’s Lateline has got a copy before the people of Renmark, Mildura, Deniliquin or Dirranbandi.

There are 2.1 million Australians who live in the Basin, and many of its towns were built to produce 40 per cent of our agricultural output, helping to feed the nation and export produce to support our standard of living.

So it will be interesting to see how much water will be actually delivered to the political pressure point of the Lower Lakes. It will only be a fraction of what is so called “returned to the river”. Along the way how many towns, without any discernable connection to the Lower Lakes, will be economically butchered and how many export dollars lost to be replaced with even further imports by Labor’s latest fiasco, the draft Plan for the Murray-Darling Basin.

Last year the government released the Guide to the draft and it was recognised by all, except the Greens, as an economic and social disaster for regional Australia. Canberra is in the southern basin and, under the Guide last year, it would have had to live with permanent stage 3 water restrictions. Canberra is spending over $300 million on Cotter Dam but it would not have been able to use the water in it.

The government announced a House of Representatives committee. It made 21 recommendations, the government has accepted one.

The Guide proposed to reduce the productive use of water in the southern Basin by 2,322 gigalitres. By the leaks we have so far, the draft proposes to reduce water use by 2,290 gigalitres.

For all the sound and fury of Mr Windsor’s committee, for all the government’s assurances that it would listen to communities, the current plan is 98 per cent of the previous plan. If the Guide led to virtual riots, it is not clear how the draft will lead to peace in our times.

Even worse, reports suggest that the Authority has not bothered to develop a detailed “environmental watering plan”, which would clearly define the areas and times when frogs and wetlands are more important than people. Who would be crazy enough to reduce our capacity to feed ourselves without clearly knowing why? The same people who are trying to reduce the temperature of the globe from a room in Canberra, the Labor party.

Like the carbon tax, the Greens will drive the agenda. The mortgages on houses for those living in Basin towns, well they are just collateral damage as they strive toward their goal of returning water, removing commerce and replacing Australian food with imports. The shutting down of agriculture means Australia is even further reliant on mining in our “one string to the bow” economy. Food inflation will sky rocket when the dollar depreciates, and at some stage it will, if we are insistent on shutting down our food producing regions as we are doing in this so called plan.

It appears the plan for Australia under the Green-Labor-Independent alliance is to shut down manufacturing with a carbon tax, shut down agriculture with a Murray-Darling Basin Plan and shut down our access to funds with massive debt. They are the most negative because they are the most incompetent government in history. The result for urban Australia is you are about to pay a lot more money, for everything.

Barnaby: Labor Is Rudderless, Clueless, Hopeless

4 Nov

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

The Qantas chief, Alan Joyce, has been hanging around Parliament House for the past few weeks, not because of an impending aviation calamity, but apparently because he likes the decor and the coffee. Well, that is what you would have to believe if you are to believe the Government.

To say the Qantas lockout and fallout came as a surprise does not pass muster especially now in light of the abundant leaks from key Labor Party ministers, all protecting their jobs in the shadow of this fiasco, so as to quarantine themselves from the political fallout in the rumoured leadership change.

Julia Gillard wrote the Fair Work Act when she was Industrial Relations Minister in 2009. Section 431 allows the minister to demand the parties come to the table and avoid the massive damage which has happened to the nation’s airline and our nation’s image. The Government had at its disposal the mechanism to avoid the travel chaos over the weekend. However, Gillard was not convinced of her own competencies in writing the Act or her Government’s capacity in administration of her own Act. She claims that section 431 could not be used because it has not been used before. Well, why did you put it there? It appears she did not even source legal advice until Saturday afternoon. Breathtaking!

Our nation’s Government is not on auto pilot – it is rudderless, clueless and hopeless. The Qantas dispute is a metaphor for the Government’s day-to-day management as we lurch from crisis to crisis. It is the same management style as the live cattle debacle which brought about a middle-of-the-night closure of the live cattle trade that we did not need while creating an immense diplomatic issue with our largest neighbour. From overreaction to no reaction at all; in fact with the Qantas issue to a position where we are in a desperate search for a government pulse. The vision of flying back into Canberra this week, on a very crowded Virgin flight, was one of a government fascinated in cooling the planet while we raced past $215billion in gross debt. Qantas planes sat forlornly on the tarmac as a new aviary for swallows. But then the Qantas debacle is not a new pattern for the Government.

During the election last year Gillard promised to implement whatever the Murray-Darling Basin Authority decided. After the authority released a plan that was a dud, the Government backed away, and started blaming us for introducing the Water Act. Now the Murray-Darling Basin draft plan is about to be released and the Government will have to display a competency, completely absent at the moment, to avoid the public furore which occurred last year.

Coal seam gas is an issue that has to be addressed in a more complete manner, as demanded by public concerns, but no senior Labor Party members are offering any solutions. At the moment they seem more obsessed with CO2 than H2O.

Labor has provided the apogee of its political engagement with Australians with the carbon tax even though Canada is running a thousand miles from any similar action, and Europe has a scheme which is little else than tokenism supported by a volatile and at times fraudulent carbon market, where the scams associated with carbon credits would make pyramid scheme marketers blush. China is improving the carbon intensity of its economy by pulling down dirty little coal-fired power stations and building massive new coal-fired power stations. Absurdly, we will pay China for the carbon credits it generated in its country under our carbon tax with money borrowed from them.

Yes, the carbon tax legislation was finalised with a back-slapping, clapping, kiss-a-thon mirrored in the big banks with a salivating let’s go out to lunch on Bob Brown’s big bank billion dollar bonus as the commissions on the permits transfer money from the suburbs to the centre of town.

In a political team when it becomes apparent that the halfback cannot pass, the five-eighth cannot catch and the coach is a plant from another greener team, then the crowd of supporters dismally dwindles to a core of the loving family members, the morbidly curious and those recently removed from the closest pub.

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