Feb 13, 2007

Mixed messages on Howard’s water plan

Mixed messages on Howard’s water plan


13 February 2007

John Howard has one message on his water plan for Adelaide, and another for the rest of Australia.

Depending on where he is and who he’s selling it to, John Howard has a different view on where the $10 billion will be spent.

When John Howard is in Adelaide, he says the whole $10 billion is for the Murray Darling Basin, but when he is elsewhere John Howard just splashes the $10 billion around.

When John Howard is in South Australia, he says the plan is just for the Basin.

On 1 February 2007, at the Murray Mouth in Adelaide, John Howard spoke of

“the Government’s huge investment of $10 billion in restoring the health of the Murray-Darling Basin and tackling head on, the fundamental problems that have beset us for so many years.”

On 9 February 2007 on ABC’s Stateline program in South Australia, John Howard said

“There is a $10 billion investment of new money by the Commonwealth to fix the basic problems of the Murray Darling Basin.”

In Melbourne, John Howard says the same thing. On 9 February 2007, on 3AW’s Neil Mitchell program, he said

“We’re at the moment discussing with the Premiers a $10 billion plan to rescue the Murray-Darling Basin.”

Outside of southern Australia, John Howard has a different message, emphasising the $10 billion was a national water package. For example, on 8 February 2007 in Canberra, John Howard said:

“WA could share through its irrigation systems in the $10 billion that the Commonwealth is putting on the table.”

The Howard Government is confused over its plans for the Murray Darling Basin, and John Howard has failed to explain the detail.

It’s no wonder the Government refuses to give the Opposition a briefing.