06 July, 2009

LETTER: Getting it all so wrong on water

Lyn Kennedy, Wesburn
Letter to the editor, The Age, 6/7/09

IT MUST be obvious to everyone that State Government water policy is an incoherent mess.

Continuing to allow logging in what remains of our forests has led to progressive drying out of the moisture-retaining regions in the wet forests. Our water catchments are drying out, which also makes them more vulnerable to fire.

Rejecting solutions such as subsidising tanks and recycling waste water looks like plain stupidity but may be no more than pandering to electoral fears of contamination.

Stealing (Goulburn) water from the Murray when that river is on the verge of collapse is irrational and wilfully irresponsible. Privatisation of our water delivery systems leads us further down a dangerous path towards lack of control over our most fundamental resource.

None of the Government's initiatives take appropriate account of the over-arching problem of climate change. Panicked by continuing drought, ministers have tried to take "strong" action to show they are "doing something".

Unfortunately, conflicting responsibilities between unco-ordinated bureaucracies, dominant unions and private lobby groups all reveal deficiencies in the Government's approach. In the end, it is lawyers who are left to argue over the allocation of costs for failed systems.

This Government may not like taking responsibility for the wellbeing of its citizens but that is what it was elected to do.

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