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Australian politicians selling-out on Australia's water security

Without obtaining the prior mandate of the electorate, successive Australian governments have been seeking to establish a water-market in this country. For as long as the people of Australia are required to “buy-back” the nation’s water, especially during times of crisis, they will have no water security. Bidding-wars, as currently being waged by Senators Wong and Joyce, are now an unattractive and dangerous feature of Australian water policy: profits arising will be privatised but the impacts will be borne by the Australian public. The electorate of this country must be given the opportunity to indicate whether it wishes its water to be privatised and exposed to global speculation - or protected for future generations of Australians.

Water policy options say “buy, buy” to Australia’s water security

The much-vaunted water policy announcements from the major parties over recent days should be treated with great scepticism, according to a statement released today by national public water-rights and environmental advocacy group, Fair Water Use (Australia):

“Without obtaining the prior mandate of the electorate, successive Australian governments have been seeking to establish a water-market in this country.

As an inevitable consequence, private corporations are wielding ever-increasing control over Australia’s water future. This has led directly to the current chaos in water management and has serious long-term implications for all Australians and the environmental health of this country.

Privatisation hurting the Murray-Darling

Privatisation is severely compromising attempts to resolve the plight of the Murray-Darling. In a privatised setting, once sustainable diversion limits are set, subsequent to the eventual adoption of the Basin Plan, further remedial action will largely be limited to the purchase of water from the private sector; water that was at no time sold by the nation.

Bidding-wars, as currently being waged by Senators Wong and Joyce, are now an unattractive and dangerous feature of Australian water policy: profits arising will be privatised but the impacts will be borne by the Australian public.

For as long as the people of Australia are required to “buy-back” the nation’s water, especially during times of crisis, they will have no water security.

Australia has been identified as one of the parts of the world most threatened by severe water shortage.

The CMO of Summit Global Management, a large, US based, water investment company recently stated, “There are few areas where we can execute our strategy - but Australia is one of them."

Other countries abandoning water privatisation

Widespread problems overseas have resulted in a growing number of countries turning their backs on water privatisation.

However, in Australia, opportunistic administrations from both sides of the political spectrum continue to encourage consideration of the nation’s water as a tradeable commodity, rather than an essential public asset.

This unsanctioned process must be halted and reversed if governments are to ensure responsible management of our struggling water resources, including the Murray-Darling river system, for the benefit of all Australians, now and into the future.

Get water away from the corporates

Fair Water Use believes that Australian water must be removed from the portfolios of corporate investors, who seek to control the availability and price of this vital natural resource, and returned to public hands. Resolution would entail fair reparation of those impacted by this process, not “buy-back”.

The electorate of this country must be given the opportunity to indicate whether it wishes its water to be privatised and exposed to global speculation - or protected for future generations of Australians.

Source: FairWaterUse, 13th August 2010

Comments

"No one is immune to it; in some respects it is the foundation of our lives. Magical thinking is a universal affliction. We see what we want to see, deny what we don't. Confronted by uncomfortable facts, we burrow back into the darkness of our cherished beliefs. We will do almost anything – cheat, lie, stand for high office, go to war – to shut out challenges to the way we see the world." - George Monbiot, Guardian, 17 August 2010

The Victorian Government between 1885-1905 made world-first legislation vesting all water and river banks in the Crown. Irrigators paid for the water they used. They had no rights over water. Graziers leased the riverbanks annually.

This lasted fifty years. If the government still owned the water, it would not have to buy back the rights that were given away since then. It is just not irrigators who own the 'rights' - as they sell the rights, it is big multinationals and foreign interests who buy them -

And with all the money and power those rights represent, what could the government not do!

The economists with their water trading complexities assume that the market will find the best use of water – no way, it is just who can pay the most.

http://adbonline.anu.edu.au/biogs/A050368b.htm
http://home.vicnet.net.au/~ozideas/water.htm

val yule

I suggest a read of the Coliban Water website
(PDF-FILE) at http://www.coliban.com.au/about/media_and_public_affairs/publications/newsletters/documents/Loddonupdate_July09.pdf
Looks as though they are struggling to deliver anything. It's a worry !