MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA 12 December 2006 – Traveston Crossing. We can honestly say that we have absolutely no idea where Traveston Crossing is. Well, we have a rough idea. We are now aware that it is in Queensland and that it may be somewhere near to Brisbane. Aside from that we are clueless. Prior to yesterday we would not have been game enough to even guess at Queensland. We think our idiotic guess would probably have placed it somewhere in a Welsh valley.
Not only would we not have been able to guess its whereabouts, but we would not expect any of our acquaintances to be even remotely familiar with the place. Perhaps we should expect our politicians to know, especially when they have just been made the environment spokesman. We probably should expect them to have done a teeny weeny amount of background reading on local issues.
But, whether or not Peter Garrett has made a fool of himself or not on his first day should really be of little interest to anyone. Yet, the chances are that whatever the merits of the Mary River Dam Proposal in Queensland, we can expect that the politicians of either persuasion will prefer to focus on the ‘gaff’ rather than on the project.
We have spent a total of about ten minutes yesterday looking for information on the project. The long and the short of our ‘research’ was that the pros and cons, the benefits and downsides, the positives and the negatives were nowhere to be seen. Instead we were faced with line after line, and paragraph after paragraph emphasising the deals that had been done among Queensland politicians and therefore which parties should be voted for and how preferences should be placed.
So it is, after our extensive ten minutes of research that we are none the wiser. We know not whether the proposed damming of the Mary River in Queensland will go some way towards improving the local water supply and perhaps even the energy supply.
We have come out of it knowing that the parties have already lined themselves up ready for the onslaught at next years election. With any luck there will have been plenty of rainfall to wash away the problem and the politicians.
We bring up the subject of water again because yesterday was another day when we were supposed to have some rain. Again the water tank went unreplenished. Again we were forced to rely on the supply from the mains water.
The drought is often portrayed in terms of the hardship suffered in the ‘bush’ such as the report that showed the Australian wool production has fallen to its lowest level in twenty years. As bad as that may be, wool can still be imported if we have a deficit. If we have a surplus then perhaps it may just mean a smaller surplus than in previous years.
However, the real problems with the drought will end up being with the city dwellers. Given that the vast, overwhelming majority of Australians live in the major metropolitan cities it is perhaps time that more serious attention was paid to the issue by commercial enterprises to find an affordable and profitable way of improving the supply of water to the population.
If it is left to the governments of this country to do anything worthwhile then we will be waiting a long, long time.