Home' InDaily : August 13th 2010 Contents The best place for retirees
to live in Murray Bridge.
If this doesn't look like a retirement village, that's because it isn't
one. Uplands Drive is a no-through road with 24 contemporary
houses designed for retirement living, set amongst a pleasant
park and tranquil lake. Instead of being locked away in a gated
village, Uplands Drive is integrated with the beautiful new
Narooma Waters precinct, sharing its proximity to the river and
the town centre, as well as its facilities. Call in to our Sales Office,
Monday or Wednesday 12pm - 3pm, or call Wayne Perry on
0400 250 004 or 8239 9800 to arrange an appointment.
(Not to mention bunyips.)
Cnr. Uplands Dr & Jaensch Rd, Murray Bridge. uplandsdrive.com.au
Your bridge to retirement.
3The Independent Weekly
August 13 - 19, 2010
For the first 25 years, the
Englishmen who huddled
around Sydney Cove wondered
what lay beyond the blue ranges
to their west. In 1813, explorers
Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth
finally found a way across those
mountains, and then there was
a new question: Where did these
mighty rivers go?
The mightiest river of them
all, the system that drains over
a million square kilometres and
one-seventh of the continent, is
now known to have its mouth on
a southern Indian Ocean shore
discovered in 1830 by Captain
But today there is a different
answer to the question: Where did
the mighty Murray go?
It went on farmers lands. It went
on irrigated plantations of rice and
fields of cotton, on orange orchards
and into the bellies of a million beef
and dairy cattle.
And the river went dry.
This week, a prime minister and
a prime ministerial aspirant went
down the Murray and promised to
bring it back from the dead.
"Today, as Prime Minister, I
announce that I am determined
we will do what is necessary to
implement the Murray-Darling
Basin Authority plan," Julia Gillard
promised this week in Adelaide.
"We will buy water as necessary
from willing sellers to get the water
going down the river to restore the
river to health."
Then, when asked how this might
affect agriculture in the basin,
which provides some 40 per cent
of the nation s food, she spun some
"What I m most fearful of is
that we continue to see the sort of
degradation of the Murray-Darling
Basin, of the rivers, that we ve seen
over our lifetimes," she soothed.
"I grew up here. I know what
it s like to talk about water. I know
what it s like to have people joke
about Adelaide water. I know what
it s like to have water restrictions
and to turn on the tap and to look
at the colour of the water and all
of the rest of it, to have a bath and
wonder whether you re coming out
cleaner than when you went in. I
know what all of that s like. I know
the importance of it for this place
and what we ve got to do is make
sure that the river is healthy in five
years time, 10 years time, 20 years
time, 40 years time. That s what s
in the best interests of farmers and
food producers. It s definitely in the
best interests of Adelaide."
And speaking of interests, SA
Senator and Federal Water Minister
Penny Wong thought irrigators
may have had too much influence in
times of affluence.
"There are a lot of vested
interests who have been listened to
too much by past governments and
that s led to the situation we re in.
We re determined to continue to
do what we re doing, and to get to
the point where we have a limit (on
irrigation) based on science."
Yet the Labor Government s plan
is as long on rhetoric as it is short
in detail. Labor is promising to
accept the recommendations of an
already-written, but still-confiden-
tial, blueprint for the river prepared
by the Murray-Darling Basin
Authority. The Prime Minister said
money for water buybacks had
already been budgeted for the next
"We put in that budget period
$3.1 billion to buy water," she said.
"We have currently used $1.4 billion
of that, so there s more money
available, and then beyond the cur-
rent budget period we will allocate
money as necessary to implement
"Nonsense!" countered another
SA Senator, Simon Birmingham.
"The Prime Minister appears to
be treating South Australia with
utter contempt. She s flown in, she s
promising an announcement for
something beyond 2014 that is not
costed, is not written down, is not
part of any policy and is about a
plan that even she claims she hasn t
Ecologists, conservationists and
economists are as divided as the
main political parties about the size
and effectiveness of Labor s plan.
"We certainly welcome the
announcement by the Labor Party
today," responded Danny O Brien
at the National Irrigators Council.
"We think this is a good step
forward and we absolutely endorse
The Conservation Foundation s
Dr Paul St Clair said: "Ninety per
cent of floodplain wetlands have
been lost. This decision, I think,
will put more water back into the
River Murray and provide certainty
to irrigators, and that s going to be
a good thing for the Murray-Darling
The Murray Darling Association
was less confident. "We hope the
Government s Basin plan will at
least acknowledge the fact that
there is more to do than just buying
back water," said the association s
Ray Najar. "There are sites where
we have huge evaporation losses,
whether it s Menindee Lakes,
Coorong Lakes or the Lower Lakes.
Modifications will have to be made
to some of these systems."
SA s peak water industry body,
the Water Industry Alliance,
welcomed Gillard s announcement
but said it "doesn t go anywhere
near far enough".
"We have no idea how much
water the yet-to-be-released plan
requires to be bought back and so
we are still in the dark as to if the
Government budget is sufficient,"
Alliance chief executive Joe Flynn
"It s very concerning that Ms
Gillard is talking about maintain-
ing the historical rate of buyback,
which means stretching it out over
years and condemning farmers to
more years of uncertainty. This is
forcing farmers to delay their plans
to either exit or delay their invest-
ments in more efficient production
"Buying water back isn t just
smart for the environment. The
economy is a wholly owned
subsidiary of the environment. The
Government needs to do a lot more
to communicate why restoring
a healthy, functioning river is a
critical piece of infrastructure for
the rural economy."
Liberal MP for Mayo Jamie
Briggs was already saying Labor s
proposal smacked of politics -- as if
that was a surprise.
"What this is, is a reminder of
Mike Rann," he said. "This is 10
days out from an election. Cast
your mind back to March, and you
saw a similar front page in The
Advertiser from Mike Rann saying
that he was buying water that didn t
exist. She s signing up to a plan that
she says she hasn t seen.
"We don t know whether it ll
actually be good for the system, we
Murray water torture
The Murray-Darling has heard it before: Mike Rann's 'historic agreement' and prime ministers
from all parties falsely claiming success. As usual, the river and its people are left high and dry.
Hendrik Gout reports.
Continued Page 4
Cattle graze on what was once the floor of Lake Alexandrina in February.
Photo: Kate Elmes
Links Archive August 12th 2010 August 16th 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page