The period since the Murray-Darling Basin Authority released its guide to the proposed plan, nearly two years ago, has been marked by sustained outrage from all quarters.
Australia uses huge volumes of water to produce products for export, but cannot find enough water to keep its river systems alive.
On Wednesday 20 January, South Australian State Independent MP David Winderlich is organising a massive protest outside a scheduled Federal Cabinet meeting to demand effective action to save the Murray-Darling.
The message coming from Fair Water Use Australia is that the Federal and State Governments are not handling Australia's water properly, transparently or effectively. The mishandling is causing a dangerous crisis. The public should be very concerned and NGOs should support Fair Water Use and the UN in their call for a state of emergency and a Royal Commission. Australia, this is really serious.
Distilled is the monthly newsletter produced by the National Water Commission, the government-appointed national body ostensibly responsible for "driving progress towards the sustainable management and use of Australia's water resources" - a gloriously vacuous aspiration, even by institutional standards. An extract from the current issue is revealing:
This book paints a picture of the ecological mechanics of this continent, using clear, concise prose. It is a painlessly educative book. The bold claim of its subtitle, "How Australia's landscape can be saved," stands up to scrutiny.
Media release: 3rd November 2008
Not long ago it could be argued that the just-approved, multi-million dollar, riverside development at Mannum in South Australia's Murraylands would be a welcome initiative; the 570 new residential allotments and 150-berth houseboat marina providing a much-needed economic boost for that regional community.
Greed and stupidity, undiluted
At the conclusion of the program, any independent observer of the Four Corners report, aired by our national broadcaster last night, 20 October, would have risen somewhat unsteadily from the couch, staggered by the degree of ignorance and/or greed displayed by many of those at the heart of the Murray-Darling crisis: politicians and water-users alike.
Media release: 17th October 2008 by Dr Ian Douglas: Coordinator, Fair Water Use
Media Release: 13th October 2008
A lose, lose, win project (or Spinning water away from irrigators and the environment)
Plug the Pipe Media release of 18 September, 2008
Friends of Felton media release, 24 August 2008
Friends of Felton welcome the announcement that the Bligh Government has scrapped the proposed $14b shale oil mining project in the Whitsundays.
We also welcome the declaration that other big developments will be stopped if they threaten Queensland’s pristine environment, and that legislation will be passed to prohibit new shale oil mines anywhere in Queensland.
We call on the Premier to confirm that this ban will include Ambre Energy’s proposed development at Felton, 30 km SW of Toowoomba, on the Darling Downs. This proposal includes a 12 million tonne/year open-cut coal mine, and a petrochemical plant to convert the coal into liquid fuel.
This project would devastate one of this country’s most beautiful & fertile valleys, contaminate underground aquifers, pollute the Murray Darling river system, destroy nationally significant populations of rare & endangered species, and produce huge quantities of Greenhouse gases.
Ms Bligh was quoted as saying "Our environment must come first".
Will the Felton environment come first too?
Friends of Felton media release, 24 August 2008
The Premier recently announced a ban on new shale oil developments in Queensland for environmental reasons. In state parliament last week, the Minister for Mines & Energy stated that no new entitlements would be granted until a 2 year review had been carried out.
Friends of Felton were informed by the Premier's dept on 27th August that the Felton project proposed by Ambre Energy was not affected by the ban.
Friends of Felton call for the Felton project to be included in the shale oil ban on the following grounds -
- The coal-to-liquids process at Felton is very similar to the process planned for the Whitsundays.
- Shale has been identified in the resource at Felton ( Ambre Energy IAS 15 Feb 2008, pp 10-11).
- The Whitsundays project threatened the Barrier Reef, the Felton project threatens the Murray Darling Basin.
- Both projects would emit huge amounts of CO2 - at Felton, Ambre Energy themselves say 3t CO2 per 1t fuel.
- The technology involved in both projects is equally unproven.
The Premier was quoted as saying "The environment must come first". By including Felton in the shale oil ban, she will demonstrate her concern for the natural environment as well as the political environment.
See also: www.friendsoffelton.blogspot.com, Qld farmers want new rules for mining in Sunshine Coast Daily of 2 Sep 08, Farmers take on coal project in GLW of 7 Sep 08, comment added on 17 Nov 2011 and reposted here.
The title previously was: Mother Nature: dig out your begging-bowl - dem cotton farmers is coming yo' way
Media Release: 4 September 2008
- How much authority is actually to be handed over by the states.
- How duplication of roles may occur and therefore duplication of costs to the taxpayer.