Mar 9, 2007

Coalition of discontent

Coalition of discontent


9 March 2007

National Party members have come out in full force to spoil John Howard’s $10bn water plan.

Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party, Mark Vaile, Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran, Bruce Scott, and Senator Barnaby Joyce have all publicly undermined the Prime Minister’s water plan.

The National Party members have again taken issue with the $3billion allocated in the water plan to address water over allocation and are resolute that buying back of irrigation licences from landholders should only be a "last resort".

National Party members are also opposed to the CSIRO’s involvement in water allocations, and want to stop revision of water access management plans that would allow new water data, including measures of decreased rainfall and the effects of climate change, to be factored into future water management.

This flys in the face of advice offered by expert research groups such as the Water Co-operative Research Centre and the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre.

Expert scientific advice is critical to the success of national water reform.

John Howard must decide whether he will uphold the national interest or the interests of the National Party.

By opposing water reform, the National Party has ceased to represent the true, long-term interests of rural and regional Australia.

The National Party and its sectional interests are at the core of the water problem, and they are also at the core of the Howard Government.