March 21st 2009

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: NCC denounces Labor's decision to fund abortions

EDITORIAL: Meeting the global demographic challenge

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Rudd Government faces horror budget

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: After meltdown, who will provide for retirees?

LEGAL AFFAIRS: Unelected judges are today's new aristocracy

POPULATION: Melbourne scientist praises China's one-child policy

BUSHFIRES: Greens adopt tobacco lobby tactics

NORTHERN QUEENSLAND: No vision for Australia's vast water supplies

AUSTRALIA AND ASIA: Lucky Country or mugged by reality?

GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR: Lahore terrorist attack affects us all

UNITED STATES: More scandals surround Obama nominations

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Behind East Timor's 10 per cent growth rate

SRI LANKA: Sectarian, anti-Christian bill re-appears

CINEMA AND CULTURE: Re-writing history, Hollywood-style

AS THE WORLD TURNS: US government schools teach pro-Islamic propaganda

BOOKS: FATHER OF THE HOUSE: The memoirs of Kim E. Beazley

BOOKS: THE TRIUMPH OF THE AIRHEADS and the Retreat from Commonsense by Shelley Gare

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No vision for Australia's vast water supplies

by Patrick J. Byrne

News Weekly, March 21, 2009
The Queensland Government, rather than building new dams for flood mitigation and irrigation, has declared most of its northern rivers out of bounds for commercial use. Patrick J. Byrne reports.
Burdekin Dam in flood (February 2009)

While the Federal Government is embarking on a national infrastructure program, nothing is being spent on Australia's vast northern water resources. The rivers of northern Queensland the Northern Territory have annual flows 9.7 times the Murray-Darling Basin.

Public focus in recent weeks has been on Victoria's bushfires, but little attention has been paid to the vast floods in north Queenslanders that have covered a vast landmass, ruining property and disrupting communities.

Despite the crippling southern drought, all major parties in the federal parliament support withdrawing 3,500,000 mega-litres of water from irrigation agriculture and re-allocating it instead to environmental flows in the Murray-Darling Basin's rivers.

The attitude among politicians has been that, as the water goes out of farming, farmers will shift their operations from the Basin to north Queensland. But they won't.

The Queensland Government, rather than building new dams for flood mitigation and irrigation, has declared most of its northern rivers as "wild rivers", not to be used for any commercial use.

Further, no new irrigation licences have been issued in that region for many years, and the state's draconian environmental laws prohibit the clearing of land for any new agricultural purposes.

Meanwhile, an ocean of floodwater is ruining towns and property, and being left to flow out to sea, while damaging government agricultural policies continue to undermine Australia's food producers.

- Patrick J. Byrne

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