THE ENVIRONMENT COMES FIRST?
Drought has been part of our landscape since time began in Australia, go back in history and one will find that our first explorers, exploring inland found themselves on a brink of a noble river.
Eager to quench their thirst and the sun so powerful and the disappointment to find the water unfit to drink it was so salty. It was 1829, Sturt and Hume found the interior at such a season, the river ceased to flow before him and the water disappeared and the continuation of the drought and the vegetation had also disappeared, Sturt named the river the Darling.
On Saturday September 28, our Prime Minister Scott Morrison flew to regional Australia and has pledged $100 million in drought relief for drought ravaged farmers and towns.
Drought minister David Littleproud said it was time for the states to lift their fingers on building dams to drought-proof Australia.
Closer to home we have the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder flushing 400,000 megalitres down the Murray River to flood forests and onto the floodplains in the middle of the Basin's worst drought.
The CEWH's water is in storage in the Murray, Goulburn and Murrumbidgee storages for wetlands, despite evidence they were unlikely to have been flooded under current conditions (managers used computer models to help guide where and when water for the environment is delivered).
For the month of August for three weeks 15,000 megalitres a day and for six weeks starting in September, irrigators were shocked to see so much water being pushed out on floodplains.
With no water allocation available for farmers on the NSW Murray system, their winter crops are forced to die off to feed the cattle or bale for hay.
Australia is importing grain from Canda to feed ourselves, when just five per cent of water currently sitting in the southern basin's storages could have been enough to deliver a million tonnes of grain to drought stricken farmers.
Let us not forget on the lower Murrumbidgee environmental water is being used to flood lignum bushes in the Nimmie Caira wetland, which locals say is open, shallow and subject to high evaporation.
The environment comes first? The people come second in the race to survive, will we become an importer of food, on account the governments do not care?
Fran Pietroboni, Griffith
ARE ISSUES TALKED ABOUT WHERE IT MATTERS?
It concerns me that this region does not have a voice in the ruling NSW State Government.
Our region faces a range of unique issues that require the State Government's attention. Issues related to; water, drought, roads, public housing, health etc.
What particularly concerns me is that for the problems our region is faces to be addressed, we need to have Cabinet and Treasury approve and fund solutions.
To do this, a politician needs to actively push a motion to be discussed by Cabinet and approved. Then, lobby the Treasury for funding.
In recent times we saw $550 million dollars allocated to this region as someone associated with Cabinet and Treasury, (most likely the Deputy Premier) was lobbying hard for our region.
While our local Member of Parliament is trying to raise the plight of our region, it is clear our issues are not being discussed where it counts.
This is affecting us all. It leaves me to wonder how this can be improved?
Our region is a powerhouse of the agricultural and regional economy and we should be seeing more infrastructure and services than we are currently afforded.
Greg Adamson, Griffith
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