Tag Archives: Murray-Darling Basin Plan

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Murray-Darling Plan must be based on best available science not out of date data

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority is relying on out of date data for its recommendations to take 2,750 gigalitres from productive use in the Murray-Darling Basin, said Senator Barnaby Joyce today.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

Where Are The “Banshees Screeching About Global Warming” Now?

9 Dec

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Feed the world or save the swamps?

The carbon tax must have done the trick. It has been considerably colder here in Queensland lately. In fact, Queensland has had its coolest maximum December daytime temperature, 13 degrees at Applethorpe, near Stanthorpe.

For many of the eastern states of Australia it is the coldest start to summer in decades. People have had to deal with the anomaly of turning on their heaters in summer. If instead of being cold it was hot, we would have these banshees screeching about global warming, imminent instantaneous human combustion, prior to catastrophic inundation from rising sea levels.

It would appear that we have proved that it merely takes the power of thought to cool the climate. The nation chanting ”Om”. It is the enlightened spirit working in conjunction with the passage of a new broad-based consumption tax collecting from the power point in your house. The alignment of these temporal and fiscal stars in this new age global astrology has delivered, quod erat demonstrandum, cold weather.

Many of the crops in eastern Australia are now being downgraded, not so much by global warming seawater, but by ”send it down, Hughie!” rainwater. I know this is slightly incongruous to the proclamations that it would never rain again and the place would be a desert.

It appears that the La Nina weather pattern has not been reading Professor Tim Flannery’s previous dire predictions that it is not going to rain any more unless we put up the price of power with a carbon tax.

We are now also currently investigating ways to put up the price of food. We are going to do this by reducing the amount of water available for irrigation needed to grow the food. In some areas, the requirements of frogs and swamps are superior to the needs of keeping the shopping trolley full of groceries within the affordability matrix of Australians to pay for them.

I was talking to tomato growers in southern NSW, and read and weep as you digest this; they get paid 11c a kilogram for the tomatoes they grow. I presume you may pay slightly more than that at your local supermarket, because of the power of over-excessive centralisation in the retail market.

In our national wisdom, however, we have decided that it is a lesser good to grow our own food in the Murray-Darling Basin and the righteous thing to do is to close down farming and import the food. The Greens literally want to close the whole show down. ”Green” is obviously not an abbreviation of ”green vegetables”.

The choice the Coalition has is to either to say no, or to try and catch and saddle this horse called ”Labor Incompetence” and get the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to a position where it does the least amount of damage to the economic and social fabric of the 2.1 million people who live in the basin.

I also have this naive, old-fashioned belief that an area of our nation which is responsible for 40per cent of our agricultural production, including the majority of fruit and vegetables, should be protected to do the job we have assigned to it, that is feeding us.

For many generations, the people in the towns such as Griffith, Deniliquin, Kyabram and Mildura, have done what the nation has asked them to do; ventured out into the countryside and gone without as they scratch a living from the dirt. These people brought up a family, built their community, fed their state, fed their nation and exported to the world. The rice production around Deniliquin, so I have been told, has the capacity to feed 30million people a day.

It is quite a noble thing to contribute to the global food task to stop children from starving. We must expand our moral horizon and realise that the trade off between environmental desires and a lesser standard of living is also a matter of life and death for those we have never met living on the edge of starvation in Southern Sudan, Uganda or the Thai-Burma border.

It really does become a trade-off between happiness for frogs and trees or the most noble of tasks, providing the sustenance for the human condition.

“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.

Don’t Worry, A Consultant Will Fix It

29 Nov

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 29 November 2011:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Murray-Darling basin results in the answer of 2750 gigalitres, and all grief can be alleviated with a consultant. Of course! What the people of Griffith need at this time of crisis is for someone from Pitt Street in Sydney to come out and tell them how to adapt.

A form of Darwinian enforcement from an opulent airy spire from somewhere in Martin Place.

I must say the crowd in Griffith was really happy when they found out they were going to send out a consultant. They were really worried for a while that the Labor party was going to stuff this up again. Like the crisis budget from this crisis government. Like the $219 billion in gross debt they have left us.

Minister Crean, when you say something like that I get a sinking feeling that you really do not have a clue.

It’s some perverse form of logic that you have never ever understood the realities of an area and that is why this is turning into a debacle. And when you really need to understand this issue you send out a consultant instead of doing your homework and understanding the issue.

Minister Crean said in a media release issued today that, ‘regional experts would work across the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Goulburn-Broken and Condamine-Balonne catchments to help communities adapt to a future with less water.’*

Minister Crean has announced that he will be using more of your money borrowed from overseas to pay inner city experts to tell people in the regions how to run their lives.

Farmers aren’t mugs Mr Crean, neither are people who live in the regions. They run their businesses and households just like any other Australian, they have to account for every dollar they earn and penny they spend.

Which is more than can be said for this government. They have already spent over $10 million on consultants to deliver a plan that does not even say how they are going to use that water.

The bush doesn’t need more consultants, the government needs to do its homework.

More information – Matthew Canavan 0262773244


Another Labor Fiasco For Christmas

24 Nov

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 24 November 2011:

What a surprise another Labor fiasco for Christmas?

On the eve of the Murray-Darling Basin plan it has been revealed that the biggest infrastructure program in the Basin, the northern Victoria food bowl project, has been beset by special deals between Labor mates and riven with conflicts of interest. This must have been the Labor theme for the day.

This is a very ominous sign on the release of the draft Murray-Darling basin plan. On a day they endorsed the character of a member of Opposition, above any of their own, to be speaker of the House, shows that they are truly a dysfunctional, Pythonseque aberration, stumbling head over heels and sinking. For us, unfortunately, the future of all Australians is their responsibility.

Labor can’t install ceiling insulation without setting fire to hundreds of homes, they can’t build school halls without billons of waste, they disposed of their Prime Minister, and if we search between the lines, we find that they have disposed of their own Speaker, they refused to endorse the character of any of their members to the premier high office of Speaker, the position that greets the Queen, preferring instead the Liberal-National member for Fisher, and they have sent our nation hurtling towards its third debt ceiling as they are now $217 billion in gross debt. [TBI: see chart below]

This is the same Green-Labor Independent alliance that 2.1 million people will have to rely on to protect their socio-economic future as supported by the Murray-Darling basin plan. How can people trust them? In fact, how can we even believe them anymore?

It’s been almost five years since the last Coalition government announced its plan for the Murray-Darling. We put aside almost $6 billion for priority investment to upgrade Australia’s irrigation network.

Instead, Labor has spent over $1.5 billion on non-strategic water buybacks and only $250 million on investments in infrastructure that actually deliver more water for the environment and communities in the Basin.

For every 1 bucket of water the government has saved through investment in infrastructure they have bought back 24 buckets.

Over $2 billion has been allocated to projects which have nothing to do with delivering water to the environment, including over $200 million for the bureaucratic expenses of its water manager and the expenses of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, and $8 million for an advertising campaign on the Murray-Darling.

More information – Matthew Canavan 0458 709433

Commonwealth Government Securities On Issue | Source: Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM)

Important Message From Barnaby

19 Oct

From the office of Senator Barnaby Joyce:

Why won’t the Murray-Darling Basin Authority hold public meetings on the new plan?

Yesterday, it was revealed to the Senate that the Murray-Darling Basin Authority had not put any plans in place to hold public meetings after the release of the draft Basin Plan. It was also revealed that the Authority has made no contact with Tony Burke about whether the Minister would attend these meetings.

The government says they will do what communities want but why haven’t they worked that out already. Perhaps we need a public meeting to decide whether we should have a public meeting!

It is essential that people who have houses they are paying off, motels they are buying, tyre businesses they are running, and are part of the 2.1 million people who live in the Basin, have the capacity to have their say about their future at a meeting in their town. If the Minister was fair dinkum he would show up.

From Adelaide to St George and at nearly every stop in between people are increasingly worried about the leaked contents of this latest Basin Plan.  Every voice needs to be heard to get this right and to ensure that all communities appreciate the concerns of each other.

At estimates yesterday the government encouraged people to get in contact with them about what they want. So let’s do that.

You can sign our petition here *


 or simply write to the MDBA at engagement@mdba.gov.au **

It doesn’t have to be long just a few words that you want to have your say to the government about the Basin plan. This plan impacts all communities in the Basin and they should have to face up to the music.”

* Text of petition: To the Honourable President and members of the Senate in Parliament assembled:

The petition of the undersigned shows:

That we, the concerned citizens and residents of Australia call on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to hold meetings open to the general public on the draft Basin plan following its release at various locations throughout the Basin and that the Commonwealth Minister for Water attend these meetings.

** You can also call the MDBA about the Basin Plan on 1800 230 067 or write to them at GPO Box 1801, Canberra City 2601.

Barnaby: Government Must End Uncertainty On Water Act

3 Aug

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 3 August 2011 (my emphasis added):

Reports today suggest that the draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan has been delayed because the “MDBA’s own lawyers had forced a delay as they found “inconsistencies” between the draft and the Federal Water Act 2007.”

It’s time for the Government to release all of the legal advice on the Water Act so it can remove the wall of uncertainty that is facing Basin communities.

Last year Minister Burke only released a “summary” of this advice to the Parliament. Only 10 pages of advice were released even though the government and the MDBA have received 946 pages of advice from the Australian Government Solicitor.

A Senate inquiry earlier this year found that “the Water Act does not provide adequate certainty regarding how water resources should be managed under the Basin Plan” and that under the Act “environmental considerations can be, and are, given substantially more ‘weight’ than social and economic considerations.”

Even the Greens recognised this in their dissenting report arguing that:

The legal evidence to the inquiry is clear that, given the reliance on the external affairs power as well as the stated objects of the Water Act, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) and the Minister are required to give environmental considerations precedence in developing the Basin Plan.

The latest delay in the basin plan means a continuation of uncertainty for Basin residents, an uncertainty which prevents them from planning and investing for the future. An uncertainty which brings business to a halt.

But worse than this latest uncertainty would be a continuation of legal challenges even after the Plan is released.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to get the Act right now and end the uncertainty.

More information – Matthew Canavan 0458 709433

Hunt, P. 2011, ‘Basin draft delayed’, The Weekly Times, August 3, http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2011/08/03/364465_national-news.html

Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications Legislation Committee 2011, Answers to questions on notice, Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio Additional Estimates, February, 4:MDBA, question 31 and 4.1:WRD, question 67, http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/ec_ctte/estimates/add_1011/sewpac/mdba.pdf and http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/ec_ctte/estimates/add_1011/sewpac/program_4-1.pdf

Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee 2011, A Balancing Act: provisions of the Water Act 2007, June, http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/provisionswateract2007/report/index.htm


This practice of releasing only very limited (“summary”) information on vital policy matters, and withholding some (or all) of the truly pertinent information, has become something of a habit for this government.

Consider their track record on the biggest, most controversial policy in the nation – their “carbon pricing mechanism”.

And in particular, the deliberate lies and blatant obfuscations presented to the public, in absence of any actual detailed information about the so-called “500 biggest polluting companies”.

Leaving it to concerned citizens such as your humble blogger, to research and expose their gross deception in articles (and spreadsheets) such as this –

The “500 Biggest Polluters” Exposed – Everything The Government Is Not Telling You.


Barnaby: Green-Labor-Independent “Peacock Policy”

15 Jul

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 14 July 2011 (apologies for delayed posting):

Another Green-Labor-Independent unfolding disaster

The great trilogy of policy disasters of the Labor party are:

– the live cattle trade, getting a 0 out of 10 for diplomacy and a 0 out of 10 for economics

– the carbon tax, getting a 0 out of 10 for public relations, and a 0 out of 10 for democracy and 2 out of 10 for cost of living.

– and the one that is actually the closest at home for me, the Murray Darling Basin, which gets 0 out of 10 for economics, a 0 out of 10 for regional development, a 2 out of 10 for consultation and a 2 out of 10 for our future food security.

The latest revelations on the fiasco that is the Labor party’s Murray-Darling Basin policy is the release today of the Environment and Behaviour Consultants report on the socioeconomic impacts of the Basin.

The report shows that the towns that will be hit the hardest are small and heavily reliant on food production, and the resulting multiplier effects this production provides.

These are the small towns that Sarah Hanson-Young wants to shut down, when she calls for 7600 GL to be taken away from water use in the Basin. If it was up to Sarah Hanson-Young the only place that Banjo Paterson could have written about would have been Nimbin.

The Green-Labor-Independent alliance seems intent on destroying the fabric that the vast majority of Australians take as their heritage. Yes we live on the coast but our soul is our centre. We are logically and sentimentally very attached to the work of the people who feed us, clothe us and provide the vast majority of our export income to sustain our nation.

This report on the Murray-Darling Basin should clearly have numerous columns in our nation’s newspapers tomorrow. It’s just that another Green-Labor-Independent fiasco is shading it out.

Craig Knowles has said that it was all terrible in the past but now things have changed. But what actually has changed? The current Labor government approach risks making the same mistakes again.

The MDBA is not increasing its consultation, rather it’s shutting it down. The Victorian Minister last week revealed that the MDBA is planning to only hold meetings with invited ‘industry leaders’ after the draft plan is released.

The Government refuses to amend the legislation; in fact they refuse to even consider amending the legislation, which led us to this problem in the first place. This is despite the findings of a recent Senate inquiry into the Water Act.

The government is continuing with the purchase of non-strategic water buybacks. This is despite a recent House of Representatives inquiry, which included Labor members, backing the Coalition’s election policy of making water purchases more strategic.

Labor’s approach to the Murray-Darling is a peacock policy, looks marvellous, sounds ordinary but its capacity to fly is highly questionable.

More Information – Matthew Canavan 0458 709 433

Basin Communities Locked Out

10 Jul

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 8 July 2011:

Basin communities locked out

The lock up on Sunday for the carbon tax is not the only lock up.

In the colour and movement of the current Labor party carbon tax fiasco, the stakeholders of the Basin have found out that there will be another lock up for them except they are going to be on the outside.

No public forums this time. Just accept what you get apparently. Everyone in the Basin deserves their say on the plan and it won’t be acceptable if the forthcoming draft is not going to be subject to an open meeting to those communities it effects.

Apparently to go to these meetings you’ll have to be an industry leader, no doubt an industry leader as determined by the Australian Labor Party.

If you are just a regular old mortgagee to the bank for which the Government’s action in the Murray-Darling Basin has determined your future well I suppose you’ll have to wait outside underneath a tree and hope and pray you still have a job or business at the end.

More Information – Matthew Canavan 0458 709 433

Barnaby: “Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard On Coal Seam Gas And Mining”

5 Jul

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 5 July 2011(my emphasis added):

Make sure your voice is heard on coal seam gas and mining

Senator Barnaby Joyce today announced public hearings for the Senate Rural Affairs and Transport Committee’s inquiry into the impact of coal seam gas and coal mining developments in southern Queensland. Hearings will take place in Dalby, Roma and Brisbane on the 18, 19 and 20 July.

Serious concerns have been raised about the impact of mining development on aquifer health and agriculture productivity. This inquiry gives people a chance to directly communicate their issues and concerns with government.

Mining is vital to the economy of Queensland but people rightly want to make sure that it is not at the expense of the nation’s most vital asset, prime agricultural land and our scarce water resources.

I encourage everyone to have their say at these inquiries. The Committee is also taking submissions. More detail on how to do so is available here http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/rat_ctte/mdb/index.htm or submissions can be sent to the addresses below.

The Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee will examine the economic, social and environmental impacts of mining coal seam gas on:

• the sustainability of water aquifers and future water licensing arrangements;
• the property rights and values of landholders;
• the sustainability of prime agricultural land and Australia’s food task;
• the social and economic benefits or otherwise for regional towns and the effective management of relationships between mining and other interests; and
• other related matters including health impacts.

For further information, contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Rural Affairs and Transport
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3511
Fax: +61 2 6277 5811
Email: rat.sen@aph.gov.au

More Information (Senator Joyce’s office) – Matthew Canavan 0548 709 433

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