You can’t blame the drought for corrupt water management.

No doubt by now you have all seen this photo, and others like it. That’s a Murray cod, like all its relatives it has survived droughts, damming of rivers, irrigation pumping and more. But this summer it died, along with thousands of other fish, because river flows in NSW are so depleted there’s just no oxygen left in the water.

Australians, or most of them, tend to go around with their heads up their bums most of the time, until a disaster grabs their attention for a few minutes. After a brief flurry of outrage and a bit of “they have to do something about this” comment on social media it’s all quickly forgotten. After the five seconds of outrage at least  45% of  Australians will keep on voting for the same conservatives who are responsible for the disaster.

The current crisis with the rivers in the eastern states has been developing for a few years now, but until this week’s fish deaths hardly anyone noticed or cared.

I blame it all on Barnaby Joyce, David Littleproud, their water-hoarding cotton-growing mates and above all, on the NSW government.

In this video Menindee resident Dick Arnold and Rob stand in the Darling river above weir 32 each holding a hundred year old fish. These Murray cod have lived through the highs and lows of this system however could not survive this man made disaster.

The NSW “Liberals and Nationals” government decided to reconfigure the Menindee Lakes last year. Part of the process involved the decommissioning of the pipeline that fed Broken Hill from the lakes. Instead of providing water to Broken Hill and Pooncarie, and a thriving irrigation farming industry, the water would be diverted to cotton farmers upstream. Many of those huge, water-guzzling cotton farms are overseas owned.

Others that are Australian-owned have had their CEOs charged with corruption.

The Menindee pipeline was to be replaced by a pipeline carrying water from the Murray River to Broken Hill. A pipeline from an already depleted river, placing more strain on a river already struggling to cope with demands on its flow.

Only a government as incompetent and as corrupt as the Berejiklian government could come up with such a stupid idea.

In 2017 Four Corners ran this program –

Pumped: Who’s benefiting from the billions spent on the Murray-Darling?

As usual with exposes like this there was the usual brief spate of outrage and then everyone – or almost everyone – went back to sleep until this week, when all those images of dead fish were all over the media.

The Australia Institute didn’t go back to sleep. They produced this, in June 2018, on mismanagement of the scheme . Result? Crickets from those in a position to make changes.

The Basin Files
Maladministration of the MurrayDarling Basin Plan: Volume I
“Since allegations of large-scale water theft were aired on Four Corners in 2017, a flood of media reports have shown that the $13bn Murray-Darling Basin Plan is not being well implemented: agency coverups, political and regulatory capture, agencies with cultures of non-compliance, dodgy water deals, alleged fraud and unlawful amendments.”

Click to access P531%20The%20Basin%20files%20Vol%20I%20%20%5BWEB%5D.pdf

This file contains a huge amount of relevant links.

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was yet another Labor initiative destroyed by the ATM government.

Residents of Walgett are living on the banks of a dry river. Water that would normally flow down the Barwon River, even during a drought, has been diverted and hoarded by upstream cotton mega-farms. They are relying for water on a rather dodgy bore that produces water too saline for drinking. The bore was taken out by a lightning strike a week ago and the residents had to go without any water at all for a day. That meant no air conditioning in almost 40 degree heat. Walgett residents use evaporative air coolers, they need water to run. No water = no air conditioning. I’ve lived out west, just under 150 km east of Walgett, , and I can tell you cooling is essential in summer out there. So is drinking water. The situation is so bad in Walgett that private citizens are appealing for funds to buy bottled water which they will drive to Walgett. The NSW government doesn’t want to know and won’t help.

You can’t blame Walgett’s water problems on the drought. You can, however, blame them on corrupt water management and on the interventions over the past five years of Barnaby Joyce, his successor, David Littleproud and the rotten-to-the-core NSW government, with willing help from the Queensland government. Littleproud, until his marriage fell apart, was married to the second cousin of one of the owners of Norman Farms, a cotton-growing mega-company and a very corrupt one. A responsible Prime Minister would never have made a man with such an obvious conflict of interest his Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, but Turnbull did exactly that. Morrison kept him in that position and gave him the added responsibility of  Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Drought Preparation and Response. Talk about putting a fox in the henhouse!

Meanwhile, much further south in NSW, the coal-loving NSW government is refusing to admit underground coal mines have been stealing Sydney’s water for years. ‘No place for mining’: coal mines drain water from dams.

Gas drilling companies across NSW and Queensland are still being given unlimited access to water, especially artesian water, and their drilling is damaging the Great Artesian Basin, but our governments, state and federal, just don’t care.

What will it take to make our state and federal governments wake up? When will they realise this is a very dry continent and our water resources are precious,too precious to be frittered away on industries we simply cannot support, industries like cotton growing and gas mining.

698 thoughts on “You can’t blame the drought for corrupt water management.

  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. As I type this there are little skinks running up and down the window fly screen next to me. Nice.

    Outline is quite fractious thins morning so it’s slim pickings from The Austrian and the AFR.

    Shane Wright describes Morrison’s effort with Mundine in Gilmore as a major electoral Hail Mary.
    Meanwhile Mundine’s first wife Jennifer has claimed the aspiring Liberal MP was physically violent after the couple’s marriage broke down in the 1980s, accusing him of hitting her on one occasion.
    The corporate regulator has fired a warning shot over the big accounting firms and their lucrative consulting businesses, highlighting cases where auditors have compromised the “appearance of independence”. And about time too!
    John Warhurst writes that the government will only have a short time to show that it has turned over a new leaf and will make a bold effort to address deep community despair about the future direction of our democracy. Business as usual is not nearly good enough.
    The Australian trumpets that Australia’s electricity market was plunged into crisis when a searing heatwave in South Australia and Victoria forced the system ­operator to tap its emergency powers to avoid blackouts as ­failed generators stretched the grid to breaking point. Doesn’t that show that the system worked?
    Coal power – regularly and vigorously championed by the Federal Coalition as the only reliable source of “fair dinkum power” – is not necessarily all that reliable. Particularly not in the heat.,12309
    Nicholas Gruen writes that many Australians will get an Australia Day award for little more than doing their job. And the higher the job’s status, the higher the award. He thinks it’s time for a change.
    Paul Daley opines that celebrating nationhood on 26 January has become a gratuitous act of hostility.
    Micelle Grattan says, “Liberals stir the culture war pot but who’s listening?”
    This history lecturer says that the government’s investment in a celebration of 250 years since James Cook’s voyage to and along Australia, if not done properly, will further inflame the history wars in Australia.
    With all the talk in the media recently about Scott Morrison’s fascination with Captain Cook, Noely Neate begins to understand our PM’s thought process.,12306
    The nature of jobs is changing dramatically as technology comes to the fore.
    Here’s an example – Coles will spend $950 million over next six years building two state-of-the-art automated distribution centres in a high stakes bid to keep pace with arch rival Woolworths.
    Jane Gilmore writes that It is 140 times more likely that a woman would die in road accident than be killed by a man she doesn’t know yet we rarely fear getting into a car.
    Big businesses caught putting unfair terms into contracts with suppliers would face fines of up to $10 million under a Labor plan it says will help smaller firms break into concentrated markets. The ALP will announce its plan today to make it illegal to insert unfair terms into contracts while introducing heavy fines for those caught breaching the new laws.
    China is in the grip of a dangerous downturn and may be forced to rescue large parts of its financial and economic system, the world’s leading expert on debt crises has warned.
    South Australia copped a hot one yesterday but we managed to get through it with no fires getting away from us. The CFS here now despatches bomber planes and helos very early to hit fires hard and this has been paying off.
    Cyber policy expert Alex Joske says that we must not tolerate China’s hostage diplomacy.
    John Elder outlines the Trump characters we need to know.
    Kate Aubusson reports that a common IVF treatment marketed as a fertility booster and costing hundreds of dollars is useless and clinics should stop offering it, experts say. The procedure known as ‘endometrial scratching’ does not offer women a better chance of taking home a baby after IVF, found the largest and most comprehensive trial of the treatment.
    Yet more problems for the magnificently managed Myers.
    In another sign of weakness in the retail sector Vicinity Centres, the country’s biggest shopping centre landlord, has dropped the value of its $15.8 billion portfolio for the first time since it listed in 2011, citing weaker market conditions for some of its non-flagship malls.
    According to the Guardian the risk of a catastrophic US intervention in Venezuela is real. Really? With the steady hand of Trump?
    The Polly Waffle is coming back!
    Gold Coast developer mayor Tom Tate has brazenly lied about his longstanding business relationship with alleged fraudster Frank Kovacevic — and the local News Corp scandal sheet has let him get away with it.–local-murdoch-rag-covers-it-up,12310
    This shyster prick deserves to go to jail!
    Alex Salmond, the former first minister of Scotland, has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and two of attempted rape.
    Kate McClymont has today’s nomination for “Arsehole of the Week” . . .

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe with a nice contribution.

    Cathy Wilcox celebrates Australia Day.

    From the prolific Matt Holding.

    Nice work from Jim Pavlidis.

    Sean Leahy gives Morrison a good serve here.

    From the US

  2. This is what I meant to post. Airbus has 14,000 employees in Wales and another 120,000 in component manufacturing

  3. I am not a footy follower but if Micheal Long was made Australian of the Year it would stir things up

  4. For those (like me) who are not keen on jingoism and fake national days, there is an alternative to the usual Australia Day carry-on.

    Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Rum Rebellion.

    On 26 January 1808, 20 years to the day after Arthur Phillip claimed this land for Britain, the New South Wales Corps (aka the Rum Corps) deposed the governor of New South Wales, William Bligh.

    I think that could well be prophetic, considering the current state of our government. Will FauxMo do a Bligh and hide under his bed on election night, whenever that is, to avoid facing a defeat?

    Happy Rum Day for tomorrow. Party on!

    • I don’t think he has ever heard of Flinders. His knowledge of Australian history seems very limited. All he seems to know is “Captain Cook discovered Australia” (he didn’t) and some myths about Anzac Day..

      It’s odd for someone who claims to be from the Sutherland Shire (he’s just a blow-in) to know nothing about Flinders, especially when FauxMo’s own home at Dolans Bay is about 500 metres from Port Hacking, discovered and explored by Flinders with his co-explorer George Bass.

      It says a lot about FauxMo’s ignorance, that he appears to have never bothered to learn about the history of the place he now calls home, apart from Cook’s landing at Kurnell.

  5. Won’t somebody think of the grandparents ? Wee Robert has been cranking up the violins lately. Just doing his bit in the great Coalition Scare War of 2019 I suppose. Mind you he does not sound confident of victory 🙂 🙂 “The ALP is set to win a May election by one of the biggest margins in our history. ?

    The OTTpalooza of a scare campaign during the election period will be sight to behold .
    Robert Gottliebsen can’t recall any group of politicians being so ruthless in their treatment of battling retirees and grandparents as Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen’

    • Hi Kaffeeklatscher,

      A couple of minutes ago I found the Spam Monster toying with your comment …

    • How many of these alleged battlers are there? Most oldies have very little in the way of retirement funds. The current batch of retirees and pensioners were in the workplace long before Keating made superannuation compulsory, so unless we were lucky enough to work in places that insisted on deducting superannuation payments from our pay cheques we now have very little.

      Most Australians don’t have lavish investment funds, have not calculated their retirement income on free government money, don’t have investment properties. For us the scare campaigns don’t make any difference, in fact, they are another reason to vote for Labor.

      To younger Australians who will never be able to afford to buy their own home, let alone accumulate investment properties or investment portfolios the hand-wringing, whinging and scare campaigns are a manifestation of greed, just another reason to hate on everyone over 50 on the assumption they are all “baby boomers”.

    • Gottliebsen is right on 2 points

      – in the past changes to superannuation have been grandfathered to protect people who already retired and can’t change investment position
      – allowing people to get upto $15,000 in franking credit rebates will capture most of retirees just above the Aged Pension


      – it was stated last year that the Coalition was considering removing franking credit rebates
      – clearly current tax regime gives a lot of cash to very rich retirees ie 80% of rebates paid to people with more than $2.4 million in shares ie income = $120,000 and cash rebates = $36,000
      – retirees who own shares within an “Union-controlled” industry based super fund will be able to access franking credit rebates

      When Howard made retirees income tax free in 2006 accountants said this can’t last

  6. Oh Good Lord!

    This is the Section 44 issue the government won’t talk about.

    The Government Has Been Funding A Sky News Show. Now The Host Is Running As A Liberal Candidate
    Warren Mundine is now the Liberal candidate for Gilmore at the upcoming federal election

    The Coalition government gave Warren Mundine’s company $220,000 as a grant for his show on cable TV news network Sky News, BuzzFeed News has confirmed.

    Mundine was announced this week as the Liberal candidate for the marginal NSW seat of Gilmore at the upcoming federal election. Mundine had previously been the ALP national president, and had later considered a tilt at NSW parliament with the Liberal Democrats. He joined the Liberal Party this week.

    Before his return to politics, Mundine had been a Sky News host and frequent commentator on the cable news channel. Mundine’s show, Mundine Means Business, was launched in 2017 as a vehicle for showcasing Indigenous businesses, and aired on weekends on Sky.

    The show is partly funded through a Commonwealth government grant awarded to Mundine’s business Nyungga Black Group, through a closed non-competitive selection process, according to the grant information published online.

    The grant, running from June 18, 2018 to August 1 this year is for a total of $220,000. The Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the grant was for Mundine’s Sky News show.

    BuzzFeed News is not suggesting any wrongdoing in the awarding of the grant. It was made well before Mundine became a Liberal party member, and when Malcolm Turnbull was still prime minister

    So what if other grants were given to media like The Saturday Paper, Crikey etc. None of them have headline hosts now running for office after government funds were used to build their profile.

    • I had seen the references to the detail on Twitter but I hadn’t understood that Mundine was hosting a TV program on Sky.

      Would that be any different to former ABC announcers Sarah Henderson and Maxine McKew?

      There is load shedding happening all around me. So far, so good either because
      the grid to our block was updated when another 150 units were built, also had to update sewer and water supply
      power is being blacked out by household, when you turn on your aircon you increase the load and get blacked out

    • It is different. Henderson and McKew were employed by the ABC. Ms Henderson gave up her ABC career long before she went into politics. Ms McKew left the ABC in December 2006.

      Neither of the women were given direct government funding to finance their own TV shows and had moved to other non-ABC jobs before becoming candidates in elections

      Mundine’s government funding was given directly to his own business, apparently to help him pay for his own TV show. The funding is still current, and he is at risk of being referred straight to the High Court if he becomes an MP.

      Mundine was still presenting his program up until 16 December. Sky’s regular political programs went on holidays over Christmas and will be returning next week. Mundine’s show (it was only on Sundays) is not listed. He gets to keep his funding and can now spend whatever is left on whatever he likes.

  7. The Division of Cook is an Australian electoral division in the state of New South Wales. The division was created in 1969 and was named for James Cook, who mapped the east coast of Australia in 1770. In 2006, the Australian Electoral Commission’s Redistribution Committee for New South Wales proposed that the division be jointly named for Joseph Cook, who was Australia’s prime minister in 1913-14.

    • As far as I can work out that proposal was never agreed to. The AEC says the electorate is named after James Cook, only James Cook. I keep seeing that dual naming claim but I can’t find anything that proves it ever happened.

      It looks like wishful thinking to insist Cook was also named after a past PM, and a dismal failure of a PM at that. It would not be a good thing to insist Cook was named after that man.

      Cook, initially a member of the Labor party, was the first Labor rat. When he eventually became PM – by one vote – he lasted about a year before he was ousted in a DD he insisted on having. (That all sounds like someone who was recently our PM.)

  8. Thanks for the video of Bill Shorten above, am listening now, he’s sounding very tired, as anyone would be doing a huge trip like he’s done with all town hall meeting plus other stuff.


    I tried pronouncing his name before I watched the short video.

  9. An interesting exchange betwixt a caller and J O’B, you need to listen through to the end.

  10. Leone

    Thanks again for that video of Bill. I just want to cry that very few people would see it, and see an actual person who I believe is genuine. If he isn’t, he’s a very very good actor. The way he responds to the questions that try and bait him is excellent. The small things that matter, like the armed forces being able to select a pair of boots from more than one manufacturer, is simple and logical.

    I have definitely gone from being wary of him, into the full trust mode.

    • I missed a couple of his Queensland videos, one deliberately because the sound was dreadful, the others because I’ve been busy.

      Labor’s use of social media is clever. When these videos are live there is a constant stream of viewers providing feedback and “likes”. There are also plenty of haters giving snarky comments, so that tells me the Forces of Darkness are concerned enough to make their minions watch Labor videos. Maybe the Labor message might get through to some of them. It’s obvious not everyone relies on the MSM for their political news.

      Here’s a bonus video – the tour has ended, Bill and his team are heading home.

  11. Any sightings of a Coalition idiot blaming ‘renewables’ for all the dead coal fired generators and the blackouts ?

  12. Gary Foley details the long drift to the right of Warren Mundine. But first a scary photo from the article 🙂

    Warren Mundine : The White Sheep of the Family?
    by Gary Foley
    August 2013

    At his stage I should declare my interests and advise the reader that Warren is a distant relative of mine, and that this has tempered this article to the extent that I am treading cautiously in an attempt to not offend too many members of my extended family…………….

  13. Must be garbage day

    The agency in charge of Australia’s most important and complex river system should be broken up as part of a major overhaul to protect the Murray-Darling basin and save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, the Productivity Commission says.

    The government released the Productivity Commission’s five-year review of the management of the Murray-Darling basin late on Friday afternoon. The report warned of serious risks in Australia’s long-term $13bn plan for the basin, which is designed to reset the balance between the environment and consumptive uses through to mid-2024.

    It said the dual roles of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority – a manager of the basin plan, on the one hand, and a regulator that enforces compliance on the other – were often in conflict. Those conflicts would only worsen in the next five years, the commission said.

    “The MDBA will continue to be critical in driving collaboration between, and providing technical support to, basin governments to help them to implement the basin plan,” the commission said.

    “However, the MDBA is also the regulator of the basin plan. It is required to make final judgments on the success or otherwise of its own coordinated activity (for example, supply projects) and to manage breach or non-compliance of all aspects of the plan.”

    “At times it may have to call out states (or indeed itself) when they are non-compliant.

    “Being the agent of, and funded by, those same governments (a role that involves providing collaborative leadership, advice and technical capability) compromises the MDBA’s ability to be an impartial regulator.”

    The risk to the implementation of the plan was so great, the commission said, that responsibility for administering it should be transferred away from the MDBA to the basin governments.

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