LETTERS: Drought and fuel
Drought wake-up call
THE state Liberal National Party welcomes the Federal Coalition Government's announcement of an additional $190million in much-needed funding for drought-affected farmers in Queensland and right across the country.
Unfortunately, the Labor Government's ridiculous vegetation management laws are directly affecting our farmers' ability to feed their starving livestock. The new restrictions on using mulga trees to feed livestock have created undue stress on farmers struggling to keep what's left of their stock alive. And for the record, the mulga lands do not drain to the Great Barrier Reef - they are west of the Great Dividing Range.
Australia has always had droughts and always will have droughts, it's a natural phenomenon. Many are comparing the current drought to the 1960s. Drought-affected farmers are having trouble sourcing hay, it is being transported from Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia because of lack of available water for irrigation.
However, our ALP state government is mainly interested in building infrastructure in the southeast corner or near the east coast where marginal seats exist. The Queensland Labor Government needs to take up the available federal funds to build more dams in Queensland. It's very simple - if you want food, you need water.
If we build water infrastructure and rail infrastructure, then Queensland and Australia can produce food, encourage investment in resources, encourage new industries and create jobs. The state would earn a return on the investment, which could be used to help pay down the current $83billion debt and would be feeding the people at the same time.
At present the State Labor Government is more interested in building $45million 2km bikeways in inner-city Brisbane, which does not provide an income to help pay down debt and does not feed the population.
This drought is a wake-up call to the heavily populated areas of Queensland - you need to invest in rural and regional Queensland if you want an income for the state and food to put on your table.
Member for Callide
THIS Federal Government reckons it can guarantee that electric prices will come down under its National Energy Guarantee plan. That's absolute rubbish. This government cannot guarantee anything, the electrical companies will circumnavigate this plan and do what they do best, rip the public off.
This government should instead apply the same NEG plan to the fuel industry, this industry has had free rein over the public for far too long and what's worse is that most of the profits go overseas.
An NEG put on the fuel industry would expose price gouging and collusion between companies, the likes of which have never been seen. The public and businesses have been taken for a ride for a long time, action is needed by the government now, but don't hold your breath.
Watering the west
IN 1938, a Dr Bradfield, the engineer who designed and helped build the Sydney Harbour Bridge and other major projects of that era, handed to the Queensland Government his scheme to water western Queensland and New South Wales, making large areas drought-proof.
His scheme - waste transfer a large percentage of the huge amount of wasted water from three of north Queensland's east-flowing rivers, the Burdekin, Herbert and the Tully, to the western side of the Great Dividing Range, spilling it into the creeks and rivers that would eventually take it to Lake Eyre and beyond via gravity as the lake is at least 15m below sea level.
It was expected to water hundreds of different types of farms on the way down to the lake and provide employment both casual and permanent for many thousands of people.
Studies costing millions of dollars proved it to be viable and of great potential, but it was rejected only because it was believed the cost of the water at the farm gates would be too high. Alas it was lack of foresight. But if Bradfield had included hydroelectric plants in his scheme it would be up and running today, helping our drought-stricken farmers and the towns.
The $190million government assistance package will have to be handed out every few years as the droughts increase and become longer.
The Bradfield scheme must be built but modified to include hydroelectrics that could produce perhaps 15per cent of Queensland's power requirements.
Keeping Lake Eyre full has untold potential, also the evaporation from it could help water country to the east of the lake. With modern technology the scheme could be built for less than the $190million drought-assistance package.