ONLY South Australia was a winner in the basin plan, writes JOHN LOLICATO
Three words that describe the general reaction of the majority of the grassroot community members to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan becoming law are disappointed, disillusioned and disgusted.
Two years of community engagement completely wasted on tokenism.
On numerous occasions during the process, Water and Environment Minister Tony Burke destroyed confidence and trust.
He and his cohorts have an amazing ability to ignore logic, common sense and practical facts if it did not suit their agenda, instead replacing it with a new report hot off the propaganda presses.
The most disappointing part of this whole sorry saga is the belief by our representatives that they needed to "be in the tent" at all costs, even when it was obvious that the majority of decisions had already been made.
Time and time again the upstream communities got screwed in the discussion and debate. Mr Burke realised that if he used huge ambit claims and repeated it enough times anything less would be considered a compromise and a win for all.*
The only real winner in this process is South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill and his concerted expensive propaganda campaign. He has won more than the full volume of Hume Dam (3000 billion litres) plus in the latest negotiations an extra $420 million for his trouble, on top of the many millions of dollars that have been poured into South Australia in the past couple of years in an attempt to secure marginal political seats.
Anyone that understands the Murray system knows that this is a very expensive unworkable plan that will have a hugely negative impact, and not only via social and economic aspects.
The environment will also pay the consequences of this bad political plan.
- John Lolicato is a farmer from Barham in NSW