-- R.G. Menzies
LIBERTARIAN/CONSERVATIVE DIGEST AND COMMENTARY FROM AN ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGIST in Brisbane, Australia. My academic publications are widely read
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Green policies are wrecking Australia
Viv Forbes, writing below, is a farmer and a geologist. He seems a bit weak on economics however. Most of what he says below is well said but he should have been more circumspect about the prospect of recycling abundant coastal water into the dry interior. It is a proposal that seems commonsense and so has been rumbling on for decades but all the studies tell us it would be a big boondoggle.
The cost of doing it would be large and the benefit small. It would allow the growing of more crops and the raising of more cattle but most primary products have long been in worldwide glut. As a farmer Viv should know that. Only the most efficient producers can make a buck selling primary products --- and even efficient farmers can go broke if they are not close to their markets. Transport is a large component of costs.
It was all shown unambiguously in the Ord experiment. They could grow anything there and did but they could not sell it. The Ord was reasonably close to the huge markets of Asia but Asians wanted to grow their own rice and other food, thank you very much. And they're pretty good at growing their own food. Because of its near equatorial position, nearby Java grows two crops of rice every year. All that the Ord grows now for export is sandalwood -- no food
There is an existing market for products from inland Australia -- when drought allows -- but increasing the volume produced would undoubtedly decrease prices, which would be pretty self-defeating and could send ALL the inland farmers broke. A good use of taxpayer funds? Australia certainly needs more dams for both flood control and water supply -- but only to serve nearby big cities
There is even a lot of scope for barrages. They are simple and cheap and should not arouse much in the way of Greenie objections. The barrage on the Fitzroy does a good job of providing the city of Rockhamption with potable water. A barrage on the Brisbane river just upstream of the port could be very useful.
It would be a better alternative to Brisbane's absurd and costly desalination plant. From a Greenie viewpoint a desalination plant is part of the problem. It uses heaps of electricity every time it is switched on. A barrage just sits there
Water conservation peaked in Australia in 1972 – our last big dam was Wivenhoe in Queensland, built 35 years ago.
Elsewhere in Australia, water conservation virtually stopped when Don Dunstan halted the building of Chowilla Dam on the Murray in 1970 and Bob Brown's Greens halted the Franklin Dam in 1983 (and almost every other dam proposal since then).
The Darling River water management disaster shows that we now risk desperate water shortages because our population and water needs have more than doubled, and much of our stored water has been sold off or released to "the environment."
However, we regularly see floods of water being shed by the Great Dividing Range, most of it ending up in the Pacific Ocean, while to the west of that watershed there is severe drought.
Our ancestors had the prudence and the will to build great assets like the Tasmanian and Snowy hydro schemes, Lake Argyle, Fairbairn Dam, and the Perth to Kalgoorlie water pipeline. What are we building for our children?
Politicians can pass laws or find money for games, stadiums, climate jamborees, study tours, gifts to foreigners, green energy toys, and useless giant batteries. Canberra alone spends a billion dollars every day.
Our engineers know how to lay large pipelines over hundreds of miles to export natural gas and bore road and rail tunnels through mountains and under cities and harbors.
But we cannot find the funds or the courage to build a couple of dams on the rainy side of the Great Divide somewhere between the Ross River at Townsville and the Clarence River at Grafton and some pumps, tunnels and pipes to use and release it into the thirsty Darling River basin.
Someone is always cursing either droughts or floods.
We need to curse less and dam more.
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