Wednesday, 12 August 2009

What the Clarence Valley is fighting for (14)

Commercial fishing boat moored near Maclean on the Clarence River

Riverbend near Grafton

Photographs from Suburbanbloke at Flickr

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Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Clarence River dam proposal slammed as deceptive

Local opinion continues to firm on the Region 6 Murray Darling Association proposal to request that the Federal Government not only undertake yet another investigation of a Clarence River catchment freshwater diversion, but also give consideration to a larger scheme involving what is perilously close to being a mega-dam.

In The Daily Examiner today it was reported:

ABSOLUTE misinformation, unacceptable, highly misleading, a great lie, half-baked, inordinately expensive and of negligible benefit ... these are a few of the terms environmental groups have been using in response to the latest proposal to divert the Clarence to the west.

The Clarence Valley Environment Centre's John Edwards was particularly scathing in his assessment:

He said if the proponents were seeking 24 per cent of flows, it would equate to a dam of 8,000,000 megalitres.
“The largest dam ever proposed for the Clarence had a capacity of 5,000,000 megalitres,” he said.
“That dam would have seen the inundation of Jackadgery and the Nymboida village, require re-routing of the Gwydir Highway and Armidale roads totalling 60km and the complete closure of the Old Glen Innes Road between Buccarumbi and Dalmorton.
“The claim that no pumps would be required and that water would flow downhill through a 22 kilometre tunnel is the greatest lie of all. The water would need to be pumped more than 800 metres upwards through a minimum 60km tunnel to reach the Beardy River.
“This half-baked plan has most likely been dreamed up by an engineer wanting to build something, who has not the faintest link to reality.”

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Monday, 10 August 2009

Valley Watch slams "harebrained scheme" to raid Clarence River water

The Daily Examiner, 10 August 2009
click on image to enlarge

Clarence Valley environment group Valley Watch points out that both government and communities have been down the path of exploring Clarence River catchment water diversion proposals before and, that the Healthy Rivers Commission had hit the idea on the head in 1999 on environmental and economic grounds.

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Saturday, 8 August 2009

Nationals MP for Clarence says the mighty river is not for diversion

The aptly named Clarrie Rivers over at North Coast Voices posted this earlier today:

Nationals MP for Clarence maintains 'total, over-my-dead-body opposition to any diversion of the Clarence River'

Steve Cansdell, State MP for Clarence, has told the Murray-Darling Association and Councils from western New South Wales they are wasting their time with their proposal to raid the Clarence River.

I have never believed in the saying that politics is the art of compromise. In life, you have to stand up for what you believe in or step out of the ring
That is why I maintain my total, over-my-dead-body opposition to any diversion of the Clarence River.
The latest bid to raid our river comes from the Murray-Darling Association backed by some Councils from western New South Wales.
You're wasting your time guys, because the answer is still no. We are sympathetic to your water problems, but this is not the way to solve them.
It is far too expensive both in dollar terms and in environmental costs, and you just couldn't pump the volume of water needed to fix the Murray-Darling water crisis anyway.
I am not sure if the plan has ever been costed, but it is unquestionably beyond the financial reach of the state and federal governments, which are already deeply in the red.
Ecologically it is about as smart as our forefathers' decision to introduce to Australia rabbits, foxes and cane toads.
It is a bit like raising the rate of the GST. The only way it can happen is if both the State and Federal Governments agree to it.
The NSW Parliament passed a motion against the proposal a little over two years ago. When I spoke in that debate, I said people wanting Clarence water are welcome to it, but only if they move here.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also gave an unequivocal pre-election pledge it would not happen under his watch, and this is one promise he has to keep.
Finally, congratulations again to the Daily Examiner for its "Not one Drop" campaign. With his front-page story on Monday, David Bancroft was once again bang on the mark. It is good to see the local media in touch with the local community.

Mr. Cansdell's support for Clarence River communities is appreciated, however this support is somewhat at odds with the political arm of the National Party in New South Wales which fourteen months ago was still clinging to the notion of turning coastal water inland.

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Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Jack Hallam comes out with a fighting "No" to new Clarence water diversion proposal

Former NSW Labor Minister for Agriculture & Fisheries and current Uki resident Jack Hallam (who started his career as a Riverina rice farmer) has come out strongly against the latest push to divert Clarence River catchment water, according to ABC News today:

Well said, Jack.

Photograph from the Tweed Shire Echo

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Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Liberal MP for Farrer Sussan Ley supports 2009 call to invesitgate NSW Northern Rivers water diversion again

Liberal Party MP for Farrer, Sussan Ley, attempts to whip up support for yet another NSW Northern Rivers water diversion investigation in a letter to the Editor of The Border Mail.

In the past Ms. Ley has been an ardent political lobbyist on behalf of the interests of southern irrigators, sat on a 2002-04 House of Representatives Inquiry into future water supplies for Australia's rural industries and communities (which in an interim report urged government to postpone increased environmental flow into the Murray River) and, as parliamentary secretary to the then Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Peter McGauran was supportive of the Howard Government's 2006-07 push to dam and divert freshwater from the Clarence River catchment.

Diverting water a valid option

26/06/2009 12:00:00 AM
I REFER to recent letters in The Border Mail raising concerns with the long-term effects of drought in Australia and the implementation of a mechanism to bring water from the Northern Rivers of NSW (or even the Ord River scheme of WA) to the stressed southern Murray Darling Basin.
These concerns are very valid and raise awareness of our country's management of our most precious resource.
They come at a time when the Rudd Government is spending millions of dollars to buy "'phantom" water allocations from southern properties.
To date, the only large-scale water diversion scheme implemented in Australia is the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
However, other schemes were developed, but for various reasons were not implemented.
The most famous, and probably most controversial, was the Bradfield Scheme which involved piping water from the rivers of northern Queensland over the Great Dividing Range and down south to recharge the Murray Darling River system.
Developed by the engineer of the Harbour Bridge John Bradfield in the 1930s, the original scheme hoped to drought-proof eastern Queensland; and thereby improve river inflows into the Murray Darling system.
It was modified in the 1980s, and was introduced by then Queensland premier, Peter Beattie, into negotiations on the Federal Government's $10 billion national water plan.
While proponents of the scheme said it would have reduced the massive natural erosion problems in areas of central Queensland, and produced climactic changes by providing extra water and vegetation in the inland, the scheme has been ruled out three times as too expensive.
When these schemes were first talked about years ago, the world was a very different place; global warming was barely an issue and food production was assumed to continue uninterrupted.
I support more work being done to research the possibility of diverting water resources from the north to the south. Of course the impacts on communities — both positive and negative — must be fully assessed.

— SUSSAN LEY MP, member for Farrer

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Monday, 3 August 2009

“They can take it to Her Majesty, but it is not going to go anywhere”: Saffin on new Murray-Darling bid for Clarence River water

In The Daily Examiner front page article today on Region 6 Murray Darling Association's bid to open another investigation into damming and diverting freshwater from the Clarence River system, Labor's Janelle Saffin lays down Rudd Government policy:

Member for Page Janelle Saffin said the councils were wasting their time. She said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had made an 'iron clad' guarantee before the 2007 election that Labor would not allow any diversion of the Clarence River.

She said she could understand the councils' desperation but diverting the Clarence was not a solution. "They should not waste their energy, their money or their time on this," she said. "They can take it to Her Majesty, but it is not going to go anywhere."

Photograph: The Daily Examiner

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Investigation into Murray Darling Water Buyback scheme

The Australian Government has requested the Productivity Commission to conduct an investigation into market based alternatives to the purchasing of water entitlements from willing sellers that could be used to restore environmental flows in the Murray Darling.

The Commission will also examine the impediments to water purchasing and how these could be overcome.

The study was part of an agreement in February with Senator Nick Xenophon relating to the Government's $42 billion Nation Building Package.

The Productivity Commission will examine a range of issues such as the pace of environmental water recovery and depth of water markets, transaction and compliance costs for both applicants and governments, impacts of Government purchasing on the water market, the implications of developing water markets and limited price information and the potential to use water exchanges or other options to facilitate water purchasing.

The potential to achieve synergies between water purchase and water use efficiency programs, the capacity to purchase a mix of entitlements with different levels of security to achieve environmental needs and the requirements of Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines are also to be examined.......

An issues paper is to be released by the Commission in mid August and submissions are requested by September 18, 2009.

A draft report will be released in early November with submissions on the report due by early December. A final report will be submitted to the Government on January 24, 2010.

[Taken from Queensland Farmers Federation weekly bulletin on 31 July 2009]

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Saturday, 1 August 2009

What the Clarence Valley is fighting for (13)

Photograph from Flickr
Clarence Gorge

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