RIVER HEALTH MUST COME FIRST
AT A recent meeting of the Menindee Stakeholder Advisory Group, members noted the present extensive blue green algal alerts for the entire Lower Darling/Baarka River and the recent Independent Commission Against Corruption report highlighting the repeated failures of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to comply with its obligations under the NSW Water Management Act 2000 to prioritise the health of the river and communities downstream ahead of upstream commercial interests.
Also noted was the failure of the existing water sharing plan rules to deliver worthwhile outcomes for the Lower Darling/Baarka under a low flow scenario as has recently played out.
The big question is how will the NSW Water Minister prioritise the critical water needs for the river downstream of Wilcannia, NSW, to the confluence of the Murray? This must include both water quantity and water quality and must use 'deliverable outcomes' as the basis for decisions.
Until the issue of equitable water share for the entire Darling/Baarka is addressed, the proposed changes at Menindee to the sustainable diversion limit project will have no support from the Lower Darling community. The community quite rightly expects the base needs of the river to be covered first.
Stakeholders will not attend any more meetings until this catastrophic flaw of the SDL project is addressed. Assessment of any option at Menindee has no validity until this is achieved.
Without water there is no project.
Menindee Stakeholder Advisory Group.
CRITICISM OF TREASURER UNFAIR
WITH responsibility being defined as "accepting and taking the praise or blame for something which you have done", Labor's treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers was misdirected when he implied that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg should assume responsibility for the fact that JobKeeper payments were incorrectly supplied to people in prison, overseas or were deceased.
Mr Frydenberg did not personally vet all applications, approve payments and then forward this much-needed money to each of the 3.6 million recipients who required essential income support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, the Treasurer does bear responsibility for the management and organisation of his portfolio, and is accountable for identifying the individuals responsible, counselling them and remedying the situation, so that such mistakes do not occur again.
More importantly though, the ultimate responsibility for this dilemma lays with those employers who intentionally made wrongful claims and submitted them to receive additional income, which they were not entitled to, at a crucial time of economic uncertainty.
The government should be loudly applauded for their swift, urgent and highly successful response, which addressed multiple consequences of the emerging pandemic, rather than being admonished for the illegal and totally irresponsible actions of a few.
POLITICIANS OUT OF TOUCH
I AM completely dumbfounded by Nationals leader Michael McCormack's statement that agriculture be cut from any possible 2050 zero emissions taxes.
To add insult to injury, the federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has supported this.
Are they both completely ignorant to the fact the National Farmers' Federation has committed to net zero emissions by 2050, GrainGrowers is calling for a 2050 deadline and Meat & Livestock Australia has a 2030 goal?
Obviously industry consultation is not high on the Ministers' list of priorities.
Just recently, we saw the Wilmot Cattle Company sell carbon credits to Microsoft, and they signed a contract for the next 50 years.
This firmly places the Australian beef industry as part of the climate change solution - on an international scale.
In the past decade, rotational grazing, increased stocking density and decreased paddock size have led to increases in ground cover, biomass and water-holding capacity all across Australia.
Time the ministers got out from behind the desk and had a look around the paddock.
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