Cartoon: By Pickering.
After the disastrous first attempt at coming up with a plan to close down a large proportion of the nation’s agriculture, after which farmers made bonfires of the booklets offered but the Greens loved it, the government has tried again, this time seeking a balanced approach. The result is a plan nobody likes and most are seriously pissed off with, so it seems they have achieved bipartisan dissent.
Senator Barnaby Joyce is one of the few really interesting characters in Australian politics, unfortunately a bit too conservative for most libertarians, but has the ability to think beyond the shackles of the party line. Like most conservatives he gets some right and some wrong, but unlike Abbott he tends to put his brain in gear before letting out the clutch on his mouth.
What follows is his take on the Murray Darling plan. In it he displays his understanding of the thing that really disturbs regional people; governments believing that they can solve perceived problems with solutions designed to please the city folk.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Murray-Darling basin results in the answer of 2750 gigalitres, and all grief can be alleviated with a consultant. Of course! What the people of Griffith need at this time of crisis is for someone from Pitt Street in Sydney to come out and tell them how to adapt.
I must say the crowd in Griffith was really happy when they found out they were going to send out a consultant. They were really worried for a while that the Labor party was going to stuff this up again. Like the crisis budget from this crisis government. Like the $219 billion in gross debt they have left us.
Minister Crean, when you say something like that I get a sinking feeling that you really do not have a clue.
It's some perverse form of logic that you have never ever understood the realities of an area and that is why this is turning into a debacle. And when you really need to understand this issue you send out a consultant instead of doing your homework and understanding the issue.
Minister Crean said in a media release issued today that, ‘regional experts would work across the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Goulburn-Broken and Condamine-Balonne catchments to help communities adapt to a future with less water.’
Minister Crean has announced that he will be using more of your money borrowed from overseas to pay inner city experts to tell people in the regions how to run their lives.
Farmers aren't mugs Mr Crean, neither are people who live in the regions. They run their businesses and households just like any other Australian, they have to account for every dollar they earn and penny they spend. Which is more than can be said for this government. They have already spent over $10 million on consultants to deliver a plan that does not even say how they are going to use that water.
The bush doesn't need more consultants, the government needs to do its homework.