Time for another convoy

By Country News

So, according to the much anticipated Keelty review, we need to teach water literacy in high schools.

What an amazing revelation from the person in whom irrigation communities put their trust.

And according to his review we need more transparency from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

Is that right?

How long did it take Mr Keelty to work that one out?

The Speak Up Campaign was promised more consultation and transparency by the MDBA more than three years ago when it came to Deniliquin, met with local people and acknowledged it had failed in the communication stakes.

The ‘consultation’, which was more a case of ‘we’ll tell you what we are going to do, so just sit back and listen’, lasted less than three months.

As soon as the organisation was questioned it was out of here, rarely to be seen again.

Do you wonder why we get frustrated?

Do you wonder why thousands of people stood on the banks of Tocumwal last year, and later thousands made the long trek to Canberra to protest against the appalling water management that is destroying family farms and the communities which rely on them?

Not to mention the contribution we could be making to the national economy, if only common-sense would prevail.

Surely no-one could wonder any more when the review — organised by former water minister David Littleproud to appease our anger in Canberra — came with so many promises and delivers so little.

At a Senate estimates hearing, Mr Keelty thanked the MDBA for being so helpful in preparation of the review.

Yet, hang on a minute: it’s the MDBA which has been at the centre of all the basin plan problems, as has been highlighted time and again in the numerous inquiries and reviews.

They constantly show the adaptability, the balance, the fairness, the ‘triple bottom line’ as it was called, have not been delivered.

As such, the MDBA has failed.

Yet Mr Keelty uses this organisation to help him prepare his report.

Sounds like another episode of Yes, Minister or Utopia.

In fact, our suspicion is that the MDBA actually prepared the report for Mr Keelty.

Its response to the report was distributed almost immediately after a media release from Minister Pitt advising the review had been made public, so if the MDBA did not write the report it certainly had prior knowledge of its content.

However, despite yet another ‘slap in the face’ from the Federal Government, our resolve to have solutions to the basin plan accepted and implemented does not wane.

We will continue the fight until the balanced and adaptive plan that was promised by various governments is delivered.

So get your pitchforks ready, folks, ‘cause it looks like we might have us another convoy (when we’re allowed out again, of course).

— Speak Up Campaign chair Shelley Scoullar