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Big Ag: delay water reforms « Previous | |Next »
January 6, 2011

Big Ag has found another reason to block water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin. National Farmers Federation president Jock Laurie says that the enormous volume of water flowing into the system from the Queensland rains buys the government time to sit back and make sure they get this right.


Getting it right for Big Ag and its political allies -eg., Senator Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals ---means ensuring precedence is not given to the environment over the needs of rural communities and food producers. Decoded that means stopping the reform process to reduce the over allocations that continue to benefit Big Ag. How will they argue? That recent flood events indicates that there is enough water in the basin for everyone?

That reform process, as outlined in the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's (MDBA) recently released guide, recommends buying back 3000-4000 gigalitres of water from the allocations of farm irrigators - or up to 37 per cent of entitlements - in an effort to protect the ecological health of the basin that has been devastated by low to no river flows.

The rhetoric is that the Guide's one option of taking back water is currently a plan which risks the future of river, farms and people. The Greens and their talk of environmental sustainability are the enemy. There is no need for any cuts to irrigation use as the capital cities such as Melbourne and Adelaide can reduce their use of River Murray water. It is senseless to have water flowing out to sea when Big Ag can use it to make profits from agricultural exports.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:47 AM | | Comments (11)


Yes well, the first decent flood was always going to halt water reform in its tracks. Expect interest in doing anything constructive about AGW to dwindle in similar fashion until the next drought. Conservatives are already capering in their shrill puerile dances of triumph at another victory over the left.

And who was Joyce ever, but Cubbies lackey?

Warren Truss says in The Australian that the recent floods indicate that there is enough water for both irrigation and the environment in the Murray-Darling Basin.

The recent flood events strengthen the arguments of those who say more water storage can relieve the pressures of the next dry phase. The strategy of harvesting water only in flood times, such as at Cubbie Station, looks increasingly credible. On the other hand, the routine watering of wetlands in drought is seen to be futile.

Along the way he attacks the Greens' for their doomsday views and the fires shots at the climate change zealots.

The Nationals are deeply opposed to water reform in the Murray Darling Basin other than ever more public public subsidies to re-plumb and re-engineer irrigation infrastructure for irrigators.

denying the facts about global warming does not make it go away.

The irony is that the floods are now being used as an excuse to avoid hard decisions about water allocation when shortages were the excuse 2 months ago.

Resist resist water reform to water allocations.

Old Fashioned Tony Abbott wants to build more dams as flood-mitigation devices. he says nothing about the long term consequences of dams on the environment, rivers and fisheries.

The proper question to ask is why the local councils in regional Australia have allowed people to build on the flood plain. Even if they are climate change deniers--as I assume--- their nature works in cycles position, means that the flood plain will be regularly flooded.

So why allow people to build on the flood plain? Doing so is a sign of incompetence and bad governance.

According to Angela Shanahan in The Australian the Greens are the biggest catastrophe. It's an incoherent rant.

Isn't it rather obvious that reducing the entitlements by 37% does nothing for the river in large flow events, and that by by simply reducing entitlements we can't utilise water when it is available in excess.
When there is no water a 37% reduction does nothing either, 37% of nothing remains nothing.
It's somewhat absurd that the govt has been buying low security entitlements , that lay idle during the drought anyway.

So we're left with the inbetween, median inflows where we need to ensure an appropriate share for environmental assets.

The MDBA have taken a lazy approach by proposing all we need is more water flows and have taken much flak because of it. Of the proposed 4000GL buybacks/cuts only 1400GL went to environmental uses the rest flowed out to sea.

Nothing more than is required by the Murray Mouth/Coorong should be deliberately allowed to flow out to sea. You'll have to forgive BigAg for not wishing to see billions of dollars flushed. After all you'd probably chase a $50 note down the street.

The Coalition is calling for a pause in water reform and is planning to block the reforms to reduce water allocations to irrigators. More dams is the key; implying that the rivers should be 'tamed' to suit the interests of people (water security).

Much of the Murray Darling basin is flat. This means that the only dam options are going to be shallow and suffer from water evaporation. Truss is talking nonsense.

the common sense 'lets build more dams' crowd who say that they are forward thinking are also anti-Greeen. The Greens are destroying the country towns. So strong leadership is needed to destroy The Greens.

Presumably, private enterprise will build the dams not government because the government is incompetent. Will there be a business case? A cost benefit analysis?

Of course not.

for those on the political right good water management is equated with building mores dams as proposed by the Coalition, Bad water management is equated with Labor's reducing water allocations to irrigators.