Letters to the editor

January 25, 2018

MDBA claim responsibility for grown in basin economy

IN HIS five-year report of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, chair Neil Andrew refers to improved environmental health.

Given the improved climatic conditions in the five years post the worst 10 years of drought in recorded history I am not surprised there are positive outcomes.

I also find it difficult to validate these claims when the House of Representatives’ Interim Report into the ‘Living Murray’ (2004) concluded our rivers were in quite good health and not in decline, and that no water should be taken from production as the science was not there to justify such action.

The MDBA has also claimed responsibility for the growth in the Basin economy.

Again, this growth for the non-irrigation sector of the Basin is not surprising given the more favourable seasons, following the crippling drought coupled with improved commodity prices for cattle, wool, fat lambs and harvestable grain crops.

However, no one is keen to take responsibility for the adverse impact on industries and commodities with the massive depletion of water for productive use, or the adverse impact on industries and commodities, which is profound and on-going.

Unfortunately, some applaud the trading of water to high value crops and the opportunity for large profits of corporate developments of horticulture, while ignoring the misery inflicted on communities in the process.

Does anyone realise a small oversupply of high value crops very quickly becomes low value or no value crops?

The separation of land and water allowed cash strapped farmers with banks at their doors to “willingly” (unwillingly if you speak to them) sell their water to the government to survive.

The reality is that we now have a Basin Plan that aims to deliver an additional 3000GL of water to the South Australian Lower Lakes (which were once estuarine) to provide a so-called freshwater solution to a historically saltwater system.

In the process as we push water from the start to the end of the system, one third the capacity of Hume dam is evaporated each year.

The 2007 Water Act was never about the environment, it was to gain votes in South Australian key electoral seats, usurping the fundamental rights of States over their water (clearly written into the Constitution) and thus sacrificing the Basin’s Irrigation Industry developed over the previous century, as the major food-bowl of our Nation.

It is past time the leaders of this country (both Federal and State) and agricultural and irrigation representative bodies admitted the massive mistake that has been inflicted on our nation.

Furthermore, they should advocate the following but necessary steps to reverse this disaster inflicted upon the food-bowl of this great nation of ours.

■Redraft the 2007 Water Act.

■Restructure the MDBA and make it accountable.

■Build a weir at Wellington.

■Instigate a dam building policy (no dams have been built in 40 years.

Neil Eagle

Barham, NSW

Keep the back nine for all to enjoy

I AM writing this letter to help our council see the reasoning in keeping the back nine golf course for Echuca ratepayers and visitors to enjoy.

When the Rich River Golf Club moved to Moama, the Echuca Council finally realised their mistake and bought the golf course back from the syndicate with the promise to keep it as a golf course for the people of Echuca.

Today it has become home to many retired men, women and young golfers with many of them volunteering their time and making it an enjoyable place to be.

We also have a chance to keep it up and running by a man who has knowledge and know how of maintaining such a valuable asset to our town and all council has to do is set out a reasonable rent and lease and council’s problem would be solved.

I ask for council to consider a solution to solve this important situation.

I have eight members of the original owners willing to sign a document to verify the Council agreed to the proposal to buy back the golf course and retain it as a golf course for the people of Echuca.

Come on Council, stand up for ratepayers and the citizen’s of your town and don’t let this become another white elephant like the Port of Echuca and Oscar Ws.

Max McKee


Horse and carriage causing traffic delays

AM I on my own and as a permanent resident in the town, getting fed up with congestion in the tourist part of High Street with the horse and carriage backing up traffic along this area.

I would like to emphasise that I like the horse and carriage, that I would not want it to be jeopardise in any way for the owners or the tourists and children that obviously enjoy it, BUT could the route be changed.

This is a busy area at holiday time and this route exacerbates the congestion.

For historical authenticity, if that is what is trying to be recreated, the road already closed off to traffic along the wharf area, the aquatic park which has some lovely views back to the wharf or even the road back along the river towards the caravan park would be worth looking at.

Traffic is often banked up at the roundabout at the end of Warren Street and down as far as the cemetery at times.

Endeavouring to back your car out at this time is a nightmare.

Any emergency services, police, fire ambulance would have great difficulty.

J Norris, Echuca

Tennis club saga unresolved

Having just returned from a short holiday, I was trawling through the Riv and was dismayed to see the saga of the replacement tennis courts for the Echuca Lawn Tennis Club is still unresolved.

According to the article on Jan 1 it appears that Campaspe Shire has developed a draft plan for the area without consulting with the tennis club.

The club has made it quite clear they are not happy with the location of the replacement courts, and frankly I’m not surprised.

The courts might as well be built on the Patho Plain as where the plan suggests.

Councils argument against the club desired location rests on their desire to retain native vegetation.

Well council, if VicRoads can get approval to remove hundreds of trees to cut a swathe through Victoria Park, surely you can get approval to remove a few more in an effort to maintain the ambience of the iconic Lawn Tennis Club.

Peter Ferrier

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