Ten days ago Senator Barnaby Joyce made this opening statement to the assembled media at the doors to the Senate in what is known as a 'doorstop'. I thought it worthwhile to revisit this issue, one that leads to wider questions of balanced development, nation building, food security and oppotunities for regional areas.
Barnaby found it neccessary to make a doorstop appearance because that morning slashed across all major newspapers were articles based on the leaking of the Coalition's draft policy discussion paper for water management of Australia. This is but one example,Tony Abbott's bold water plan leaked
I will copy the questions and answers that followed in the first comment below. I don't believe that any copyright applies as this doorstop transcript has been made freely available from Senator Joyce's office.
Photo sourced The Age
You have probably read the front page of the paper and the discussion in regards to the Coalition Dams Taskforce. I think it is really important that we deal with this issue in a positive way. The Australian people want to take the next step. The Australian people want the vision that takes them ahead, that has the capacity to grow the size of our economy to grow areas of opportunity and to create a mechanism to assist us in paying the debt the Labor Party has left behind.
Now water is wealth. Efficient storage and usage of water that is environmentally responsible gives our nation a great capacity to take that next step. There is no one here today who is not the benefactor of public works, of dams the capacity to store water. Let’s face it out in the country you can build it all yourself. We should not be scared of taking the next step. One of the greatest engineering feat of this nation is not that far from here, which is the Snowy Mountain Scheme which is something even to this day people use as a legacy that makes them feel proud of who they are as Australians. They bought in so many people who were immigrants who helped to construct this nation and so I believe the Australian people will be ready to go on a, progress a stage in their life with a new government that is going to take us the next step forward.
Now I know there will be cynics out there that say that every dam is evil and to anything to do with dams is environmental vandalism. Some of these people you can never make happy. In fact there are probably many in the Greens who want to pull the dams we’ve got down.
What I can say anecdotally is the investment made some time ago in the town I live in St George, for public infrastructure for a dam is now responsible for a community that was built around it. It produces between three-quarters and a billion dollars worth of renewable income every year predominantly through irrigation. Who are the benefactors of that? It is every person who collects tax revenue from that area and all the people who have the jobs in that area. When you look at it, there are 5,000 people who live in that area so it’s a pretty good return for us all.
Photo source The Punch