Feb 192007

“We would take our share for Queensland so there would be a benefit for us, but this would create a healthy Murray-Darling,” – Chairman Beattie

‘Water war’ fears over resurrected Bradfield scheme. 19/02/2007. ABC News Online.

The Bradfield Plan has had two resurrections since being canned in 1933. Once in 1947 and again in the 1981. The reason it hasn’t been actioned to date is one of cost -v– benefit.

It’s an enormously extravagant and expensive undertaking, albeit well-meaning and far-sighted. The re-direction of water from the Tully, Herberton and Burdekin rivers of north and far north Queensland into the Flinders and Thompson rivers in south-western Queensland and from there into the Lake Eyre basin. The original intent was not to feed the Murray Darling system, as proposed by Chairman Beattie today, but to transform the desert micro-climate of the Lake Eyre basin, induce rain and make the desert green.

Bannerman is hugely amused listening to Bob ‘Cowboy Hat’ Katter telling anyone who’ll listen that Beattie’s idea has merit and anyone who poo-hoos it doesn’t have a brain cell to bless themselves with. This from the same man who threatened to knock Beattie’s block off at a point in the 2003 election.

Tellingly, it’s the reactions of local council leaders in the north of the state which indicate that this rather madcap, good-intentioned idea is surely something just a tad less than altruistic in its makeup. Claims of ‘our water and ‘our’ rivers clearly put Beattie on notice that without consultation, which he hasn’t undertaken before today, the idea simply isn’t on and won’t get support. Bannerman chuckles at the media claims of ‘civil war’ over water, given that shires the likes of Richmond would be flat out mustering a civilian militia, let alone an armed insurrection force. Still…..that’s the media, isn’t it?

These ideas for miracle water resolutions, like the Bradfield Plan, might be viable in times of real disaster but Australia isn’t there just yet. Other issues such as the unfettered theft of water by irrigators from Queensland to South Australia need to be addressed before mega-billions are spent drilling through mountain ranges. This latest resurrection of the aged and yellowed Bradfield Plan is simply politicking by the Chairman of Qld Inc. Yes, a viable endeavour, but a hellishly expensive one and simply not warranted at this time. Still….it’s an idea to drop on the table in front of L.J.Howler, and remonstrate over when it comes to just what, where, when, how and who’s going to authorise the spending of $10 billion which Howler reckons will save the Murray-Darling.

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