Sunday, 11 April 2010

Victorian Government corporation breaches human rights in water management

Jan Beer - is she dangerous?

Miss Eagle has been gone for a long time.  Some of it, in the beginning, was due to busy-ness but then came a long bout of ill health.  I have wondered what it would take to get me off my backside to write again and to-day the answer has come.  This story has made page 3 in to-day's edition of The Age.  It quite clear that Jan Beer's human rights and civil liberties have been breached and abridged by Melbourne Water.  

Melbourne Water is the major water corporation in Victoria.  It is wholly owned by the State Government of Victoria.  The government is the only shareholder as is the case with water corporations throughout Victoria.  In fact, the government never tables a balance sheet for these corporations.

Victoria is one of two jurisdictions in Victoria that has a human rights instrument.  Victoria's legislative instrument takes the form of a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities.  Read here to discover the freedoms to which Victorians are entitled.  As you will see from the article in The Age, Jan has been arrested.  However, arrests are common as acts of civil disobedience and as part of a campaigns which may want to test the legality or force of particular laws.  Jan was arrested in 2008 for these sorts of reasons.  The picture above was taken in early 2009 and, while she is pictured standing cheerfully beside a water-swigging policeman, she is not under arrest and not being treated like a terrorist either.  Funny that, since she is such a danger that Melbourne Water could devote a slice of its budget to breaching Jan's human rights.  

Jan is a leader, along with Mike Dalmau, in the Plug the Pipe Campaign.  They have been outspoken about the Brumby Labor Government's plan to provide water to Melbourne via the North-South Pipeline as part of the Food Bowl Modernisation Program and the Northern Victorian Irrigation Renewal Project

Miss Eagle expects that the publicity surrounding this breach of human rights will not bode well for the Brumby Labor Government.  Polls are showing water as a major negative for the Brumby Labor Government which faces the polls on the last Saturday in November this year.  

One major environmental group in Victoria, after carrying out their own polling and focus groups, looks like running a water/rivers campaign on the theme of "Brumby doesn't have a plan".  This in spite of millions of dollars spent on the North-South Pipeline which cannot deliver as promised without environmental deprivation and billions of dollars spent on building a desalination plant  most of which will go to that wonderful human rights proponent (ahem!) Suez/Degremont.
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