Tag Archives: murray darling basin

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.

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.

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