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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Saturday, 20 January 2007
'We have to move the catchment': Ian Cohen MP, Greens
Mood:  on fire
Topic: election nsw 2007

Yesterday super fast thinker/talker Adam Spencer 702 ABC radio announcer did a follow up interview on a big issue of the day, being the impending decision to go ahead with a very expensive desalination plant for water here in Sydney.

ABC TV prime time ran it at 7pm too all building on a front page report in the Daily Telegraph,


Desalination plant for NSW

January 18, 2007 12:00 [web version, but published paper version p1 , left hand column 19th Jan in similar form]

THE controversial desalination plant proposed for Sydney's south to combat record low dam levels may go ahead before the March state elections, the NSW Government says.

reinforcing the influence of that paper but also the significance of the story in the election as Adam Spencer correctly pointed out.

His guest Ian Cohen MP, the Greens was chair of a Paliamentry Committee on sustainable water and it was one of his best interviews when it mattered. Starting calmly then the facts and the passion really started to burn. Cohen has always been able to talk a leg off a chair like most pollies but he was on fire as per the 'emoticon' above:

"There is the energy greenhouse problem of desalination - two steps back and one step forward. It has been raining. Away from Warragamba Dam on the coast here. We have to move the catchment.  It is so disappointing that this government has not instituted a big roll out of rainwater tanks and conservation measures we urged 12 months ago. The Coalition are ahead of Labor on this situation. "

Or words to that effect. It was bloody good stuff there Ian, who can sound a tad flaky. But like his book "Green Fire" he might have some kick in the old batteries yet. His sister in a good ALP mugging joins in the chorus here (as well as abc tv news last night):

19 January 2007

Greens call for level four water restrictions, not desalination plant

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said today that the NSW government could still
avoid building a desalination plant in Sydney by immediately putting all
water users on level four restrictions.

*Level four water restrictions, scrapped by the NSW government in
March last year, would lift water saved to about 30 per cent,* Ms
Rhiannon said.

*The Greens have called on Premier Morris Iemma to reintroduce level
four water restrictions.

*Plans for a desalination plant should be ditched in favour of water
restrictions, stormwater harvesting, recycling and demand management.

*Today*s news that Sydney*s dam water levels are just above 35
per cent would have been the trigger for the introduction of level four
water restrictions under the old water restriction regime.

*In February last year the Iemma government abandoned all plans for
level four restrictions in favour of a desalination plant. It was a
spectacular misreading of what the community wants.

*Level four restrictions ban external watering for domestic users and
limits water use for some businesses and government agencies.

*Details of restrictions are determined by Sydney Water in
consultation with the Drought Management Committee to ensure targets can
be achieved and maintained.

*A federal government supported study last year revealed that two
thirds of Australians support water restrictions. With community
education and compliance monitoring, Sydney could entirely avoid the
need for a desalination plant.

*Instead, the Iemma government completely underestimated the enormous
water savings potential locked up in the community*s willingness to
change habits and use less water.
*Morris Iemma*s desalination plant and aquifer pumping will not be
needed when the drought breaks. In a year of so, they are likely to
become white elephants that have soaked up more than a $1 billion that
could have improved public schools, hospitals and transport,* Ms
Rhiannon said.

For more information: 0427861568

The electoral influence of the Greens on the sustainability of water policy area is reflected by the usually not so sympathetic News Ltd Daily Telegraph which took up their message here:


Desalination unnecessary: Green

January 19, 2007 12:00

INTRODUCING level four water restrictions in NSW would make the building of a desalination plant unnecessary, the NSW Greens said.

And what'$ the difference between a de$alination plant or stricter restrictions? Oh, only about $1billion dollars in taxpayer dollar$. And this is where the famous ALP dependence on the political patrongage of the construction sector both corporate and labour/union comes in, as distinct from say rain tank makers and plumbers: The ALP would demolish and rebuild the Opera House if they thought they could get away with it, just to prove they are good at promoting 'economic activity'.

Trouble is economic activity per se is not probitive of whether it is good or bad for society, like car crashes which make lots of work all round especially if people and car manage to survive the impact. Same with desal plants, the water equivalent of a car crash, to be avoided at all costs?

Posted by editor at 6:55 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 20 January 2007 7:30 AM EADT

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