Thursday, 3 February 2011

Independent MP for New England Tony Windsor considers Clarence Valley communities to be feral

In which the Independent MP for New England Tony Windsor considers Clarence Valley communities to be feral.

Exchange between Ernest Kitta and Chair of the Inquiry into the impact of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan in Regional Australia Tony Windsor, at the Griffith hearing on Tuesday 25 January 2011

Mr Kitta—First of all, I have a couple of questions. What is the environment? It is a very loose term. In the dictionary it says the environment is your surroundings. I think that in Griffith here we are in the most beautiful surroundings you could have, so why take water away? You are taking water from the environment if you send it out to the lakes; you are not giving it to the environment at all. The other one—I am not an irrigation farmer—is that probably, when we get a good flood, some of the water comes in this direction, but by our dams and crops we have provided an environment for the roos and everything else that they would not have had before.This question has been raised quite a bit, and I will not go over it again, but I think it needs emphasising. It is the top end. They are working on the wrong end. They are rationing at the bottom end instead of increasing the supply at the top. The designs have been done for many years for these dams that the previous speaker mentioned. What they do is to go over to the Clarence River and tell the people there—real scare tactics—‘We’re going to take all your water and send it west.’ No such thing has ever been proposed. They proposed to take, I think, the flood waters of 30 per cent of the catchment. I think they would be quite happy to see the flood waters go; they had a flood recently. So it is plain political scare tactics to tell those people that there is no water to come over here. It has really had the lie given to it in Queensland now with the good flood they have had up there. Surely they would not miss a bit of water if they sent it down here. That is my whole point.

CHAIR—Thank you, Ernest. That site for the Clarence dam is in my electorate, and when you go over there and mention that they go absolutely feral! I will tell them you have endorsed it!

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