Home > Environment, Unsustainable environmental destruction > “All Labor” govts deliver 100% failure

“All Labor” govts deliver 100% failure

Remember when “all Labor” Cth and State govts were finally going to “deliver” in contentious areas such as water rights, health and tax sharing?

Finally, there would be “no excuses” to deliver on these vital issues of national long-term interest.

Ha Ha Ha.

Paul Sheehan comments on the complete failure of that idea in today’s SMH, at least as it applies to the environment and water rights.

Last week I received shocking photos of the Wyangala Dam, which once held several times the volume of Sydney Harbour but is now reduced to a chain of brown pools. The Lachlan River, which once fed a majestic floodplain with regular healthy flooding, has been blocked off below Condobolin to ensure water supplies for the town. This has never happened before. A rich flood plain has become an arid zone.

We don’t have to wait for global warming for adverse climate change in Australia. It’s already here, and all man-made. The landscape of the Murray-Darling Basin was changed on a large scale, and the climate of the Murray-Darling Basin has changed.

With Labor in power in Canberra and every state except Western Australia, it was logical to expect a policy pay-off over an issue as crucial as water. But no. The National Water Commission recently issued its biennial assessment of the national water initiative and the report reads like a horror novel if you read between the lines of the report’s cautious sober language.

The commission, charged with saving the Murray-Darling Basin from the massive over-allocation of water rights by state governments to irrigators, has encountered a morass of inertia caused by jurisdictional complexity, bureaucratic infighting and state parochialism. On the most important single issue facing the nation – water security – federalism has failed. NSW and Queensland are replaying the State of Origin tribal warfare, except that the stakes are real and enormous.

The Water Commission’s chairman, Ken Matthews, allowed himself some venting in a recent speech when he referred to the ”bickering, arguing and delaying” by state governments. And these are all Labor governments.

To make the problem worse, these same governments have been busy granting mining leases for projects that could need as much ground water as will be saved from the river system by the $10 billion the Federal Government is spending to buy back water rights from irrigators.

Coal-mining leases have been granted, or applied for, over 16,000 hectares in the Maranoa, Balonne and Condamine river basins in Queensland. Petroleum leases have been granted, or applied for, over 23,000 hectares of these same basins.

”One-third of the Murray-Darling Basin is in Queensland where a massive increase in mining for coal, petroleum and liquid natural gas is under way,” said Kathy Ridge, a member of the Basin Community Committee which advises the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

”There are currently eight liquid natural gas projects proposed in Queensland with a total capital expenditure in excess of $40 billion. If all of the projects were to proceed, their water consumption would amount to almost half the total amount of water entitlements purchased [by the Federal Government] to return environmental flows to the Murray Darling River …

”The water that comes out of mining is heavily polluted with salt and other heavy metals. No one knows what to do with it apart from evaporating it in huge storage dams, causing ongoing water and land pollution.

”NSW is similarly for sale when it comes to mining, particularly coal seam methane, and much of the prospecting for coal-seam methane gas occurs on prime agricultural land, or land with high conservation values.”

Over the next 30 years, governments in Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane expect to receive about $40 billion in royalties from these mines, but these royalties will not cover the economic costs to repair the ecosystem. That cost will be carried by the taxpayer, and absorbed by the environment.

Incoherent environment policy is further personified by the Federal Government ramping up Australia’s emissions with the largest immigration program in Australia’s history – a policy unmentioned during the 2007 election campaign – while at the same time talking about reducing emissions with a massive carbon trading scheme.

Carbon trading is a system dismissed by the world’s most influential scientist on global warming, James Hansen, who, as director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, essentially invented and popularised the concept of human-induced global warming.

Hansen believes carbon trading schemes, especially those as complex and compromised as the scheme proposed by the Rudd Government, are misguided: ”These cap-and-trade trading schemes are a terrible idea. They are a way to continue business as usual … ”

Business as usual is exactly what the Rudd Government, the unions and the Labor patronage machine are all about. The soaring rhetoric about climate change is just carbon emission.

Having our water table at the mercy of Queenslanders is so frightening I’m almost going to take the Lithium the doctors have recommended for me.  I have not met one Queensland environmentalist.  Put a $ bill in front of any Queenslander and they seem to reflexively salivate like one of Pavlov’s dogs.  The granting of new mining rights in these vitally important areas is MADNESS. 

Allowing mining on fertile arable land, near our national water table is MADNESS.

But never underestimate the madness of a govt deep in debt and looking for any way out.  Will the Queensland govt prostitute our children’s futures to the mining industry for some filthy lucre to pay off the debts they’ve stupidly accumulated, rather than negotiating a sensible way out directly with the major creditors and the Cth govt? 

Apparently, yes.

Sad.

Another Aussie environmental disaster in the making, this time 100% Labor-made.

This does not make me proud to be an Australian.

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