NORTHERN QUEENSLAND: by Patrick J. ByrneNews Weekly
No vision for Australia's vast water supplies
, 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.
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.
|Burdekin Dam in flood (February 2009)|
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