Bailing out water
The more we hear about the problem of managing water rights in the Murray–Darling system, the more it sounds like a classic example of too many cooks spoiling the broth. Karen Middleton’s report (“Former AFP chief eyes water officials”, November 2-8) clarifies the ludicrously cumbersome and counterproductive framework that is currently creating additional hurdles, rather than smoothing the way for a more equitable water-allocation arrangement. It beggars belief that, after all this time, we are still unable to work sufficiently co-operatively and constructively within our federal administrative structure to sort this scandal out in a fair and practical manner. Good luck to Inspector-General Mick Keelty: it sounds as though he’s on the right track, but he will need to rely on more than luck and goodwill in order to clear the bureaucratic blockages. This is not a battle our generation can afford to lose if we’re to leave any worthwhile environmental legacy.
– Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale, Vic
Getting to the truth
The only hopeful news I’ve read in way, way too long. A proper integrity commission? Yes, please. A proper investigation into the Murray–Darling Basin Authority on both federal and state roles? Yes, please. Mick Keelty for PM ASAP? Yes, please.
– Neil Hodgson, Castlemaine, Vic
Calling out Daniel Andrews on forests
Thank you, Rick Morton (“Forest or the trees”, October 26–November 1), for putting the spotlight on the likelihood of VicForests once again logging in Victoria’s central west forests. Many in the local community are very concerned about the resumption of industrial-scale logging, which will inevitably put more pressure on our dwindling biodiversity. As stated in the recent Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) investigation, these forests have high conservation values, 380 rare and threatened species, and are the headwaters of major river systems, running north and south of the divide. An international expert report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released in May 2019 warns of a global decline in nature (biodiversity) – and it’s happening at the fastest rate in human history. Australia has one of the world’s worst extinction records in the past 200 years. With the recommendations offering continued access to recreational users such as four-wheel-drivers (Four Wheel Drive Victoria supports the proposals), trail bikers and horse riders, there is no valid reason for the Andrews government to not accept VEAC’s scientifically backed findings.
– Trevor Speirs, Trentham, Vic
Protests used to snare voters
The anti-protest laws proposed by the Coalition government seem to be well ahead of the game (Gadfly, “Protesters push their lock”, October 26–November 1), directed against citizens who object specifically about climate-destroying mining and agricultural activities. The laws seem to fly in the face of the government’s denial of global overheating. If there is no climate heating, why would citizens bother to protest, and why would special anti-protest laws be needed? The Coalition knows full well their climate inaction is a catalyst, increasing demands to reduce polluting industries. It seems the LNP have discovered a lodestone of new fears to ensnare voters. Anyone who works in an industry identified by protesters is a potential new convert to the LNP brand. This would not occur if the Coalition spent our tax dollars promoting renewable energy, rather than funding uneconomic new coal-fired power stations and underpinning uneconomic coalmines. The government is spoiling for conflicts that (hopefully) will bring workers worried about change, or about their jobs, to the LNP. Yet the reality of looming irreversible climate change is surely a greater danger to those industries, and to the jobs of their workers.
– Keith Mitchelson, St Lucia, Qld
No protection for farmers
As a primary producer I take issue with cockies thinking all their Christmas puddings have come at once. Many cockies won’t be able to afford a pudding this year and the people most likely to be adversely affected by legislation banning action against farmers for nuisance are those most likely to suffer nuisance – neighbouring farmers.
– Philippa Morris, Gravesend, NSW
Keep up the good work, Mungo. Love it. We finally cracked a perfect score (The Cryptic, November 2-8).
– Mick Oechsle and Nush Szafranski, St Kilda, Vic
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Nov 9, 2019.
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