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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