Saturday, 7 August 2010


Dear Networkers,

My apologies!  When I posted on the matter below a couple of days ago, I got all excited.  Now I should have known better.  I should have realised that all that comes from the mouths of politicians on water is not sensible.  The debate has been and gone - but you had to be listening to Adelaide radio to hear it.  I suppose because only Adelaide people heard it there were predominantly South Australian issues under discussion.  Oh well!  Too bad, so sad!  But wouldn't a nationally televised Great Water Gate Debate be a marvellous thing.

Perhaps it is too late to work yet another debate into the hectic round of the election campaign, but what about having a monstrous huge debate around the time of the release of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.  It could include not only politicians but scientists, academic experts, community people and consumers.

What about a whole series within a national debate so that we know not only the issues in our home states - but the Great Water Gate issues in all six states and two territories?

What if we learned so much about water from such a series that issues such as unbundling; deforestation; revegetation; water pricing; desalination etc tripped easily from our tongues and into our conversations?

Aaaaaah, dream on Miss Eagle....what if.......?!!!

From Ian Douglas over at Fair Water Use, comes news that Barnaby Joyce is taking up Penny Wong's challenge for a debate on water.  Bring it on!


National Water Policy: 
Show me yours and I'll show you mine

5th August 2010

National public water-rights advocacy group, Fair Water Use, welcomes the statement from federal coalition water spokesperson, Senator Barnaby Joyce, that he is willing to debate water policy with Senator Penny Wong.

National coordinator of Fair Water Use, Ian Douglas, has responded to the announcement saying, “The current lack of water policy statements from all parties reflects poorly on those seeking to be responsible for our water resources in little more than a fortnight”.

He continued, “Australians are increasingly aware of the need for protection and careful management of their water – much threatened by the policies of successive administrations; a vital topic, demanding rational debate rather than finger-pointing”.

“There is increasing objection in the electorate to the ongoing process of privatisation of Australian water; an agenda which no major party has yet had the honesty to put forward as official policy during any election, state or federal. This issue must be brought into the open for discussion before this federal election”, Dr Douglas concluded.

Fair Water Use (Australia) has contacted the three major parties, requesting that they clearly enunciate their position on water privatisation prior to the upcoming federal ballot. 

Initially seen by governments as a cheap means of providing and operating water utilities, privatisation has proved an abject failure in most parts of the world where it has been implemented – leading to dramatic escalation in charges, poor service and a fixation on unnecessary, inefficient and environmentally destructive infrastructure development; reaping huge profits for private water corporations at the expense of the general public.

An increasing number of countries are extracting themselves from contracts with water companies, returning control of water supplies to public authorities.

However Australian governments seem oblivious to this trend and continue to pursue a process of privatisation by stealth: encouraging management of water as a commodity rather than a common “good”, leaving it exposed to international market forces rather than protected for future generations of Australians. The social inequity and allegations of corrupt corporate practice, which plagued this process overseas, are now being mirrored in this country.

The major parties must now indicate their stance on water privatisation - Australians deserve no less.

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