No water no surprise
The NSW Water Minister's announcement (Prime News 18.3.21) that neither Tamworth nor irrigators would receive any extra water allocations if the proposed Dungowan Dam project goes ahead was no surprise as we live in a fully allocated water system.It would have been more useful, perhaps honest, if this announcement was made at the same time as the project was announced as not everyone is aware of the implications of a fully allocated system.
The Draft NSW and Namoi Regional Water Strategies state Climate Change and population increase as causes of water insecurity. A third cause, poor management , is alluded to in that both strategies recognise that more transparency, accountability and compliance is required in water management.
Chaffey Dam is managed by the NSW government and with ethical transparent management Tamworth should not be put in the precarious position it was in 2019 when 60 per cent of Chaffey Dam's water was released within 18 months between December 2016 and June 2019 (NDL 18.10.19).
The draft strategies confirm the importance of water sustainability and the use of purified recycled water.
Robyn Bird, Tamworth Water Sustainability Alliance
NBN in the regions
Early this week Tamworth Regional Council voted to support a motion to the annual National General Assembly, Australian Local Government Association pertaining to the inadequacy of the current NBN in our region and rural areas generally. The Covid 19-21 pandemic has demonstrated that people and businesses can operate very successfully anywhere even at home and in remote areas too.
The saddest feature about the politicised NBN project is that we won't ever know what could have been. Giving everyone the same access no matter where they are, at home, work, city or regional/rural would have encouraged innovation beyond belief. Now it seems mainly wealthy established businesses have access to and can afford the best communication toys and equipment.
Despite comments to the contrary that our broadband system is largely "fit for purpose" what has been frustrating, is the inadequacy of the broadband system for businesses and even medical professionals as they go about their daily work.
The Federal Government has proposed to address part of the issue by connecting some businesses via the Business Fibre Program for free, however the costs to businesses for the plans range from $350 to $1,000 per month putting them out of reach for many small businesses particularly those on tight budgets. The original NBN fibre scheme would have provided the businesses the speed and reliability people want/need that they are currently paying.
For our innovative and entrepreneurial minds and businesses to be successful in regional and rural areas we need a communication system that is affordable and at 2021 standards.
Mark Rodda, Tamworth
The PM's "mene mene tekel upharsin"?
The Prime Minister's tearful mea culpa offering to women was not surprising; after all there was no where left to run or hide.
What was surprising was his faked claim about sexual harassment in the media; and in particular the Murdoch owned media. The same media that created the "miracle" that helped get him into office in the first place.
Was it simply the consequence of Morrison's reflexive instinct to lie whenever he is under scrutiny or was it a frustrated back handed swipe at the portents of things to come?
Two days previously Lachlan Murdoch and his family slipped quietly back into the country for an indefinite period, having taking their children out of their Californian schools. The last big Murdoch visit in August 2018, coincided with the fall of Malcolm Turnbull and the rise of Scott Morrison.
Murdochs' strength lies in lobbying and influencing government regulations; a point which is at the centre of the Rudd-Turnbull petition for an inquiry into the company which controls 70 per cent of Australia's media and pays no tax but continues to receive government handouts.
Australia's betting industry is currently led by Tabcorp but Murdoch is currently eyeing off a potential entry/takeover into the extremely lucrative and increasing market. Being a foreign takeover, it would require the favourable support of Australia's Treasurer, currently Josh Frydenberg.
Scott Morrison is currently in the middle of a rising political mess of his own making; one from which he is unsuccessfully struggling to emerge. Surely this must be of concern to the future leadership of his own party and obviously to the Murdoch empire. Murmurings of Frydenberg being the next Prime Minister are gaining traction.
Perhaps Morrison has joined the dots and seen the writing on the wall and vented his spleen in anger and frustration.
Jan Kleeman, Donald Creek
Hunter Gas retreat
Farmers at Quirindi affected by the Queensland Hunter Gas pipeline have shown what force a united community can be, and what can be achieved in the face of bullish proponents who think they have free reign over freehold owned farms, businesses and homes. This last week their staff were on the back-foot at virtually unanimous opposition to their project on our black soil cropping and irrigation paddocks, retreating from meetings and actively ringing new landholders in an attempt to find a new path of least resistance, to little success.
We know via our newly connected community's that opposition to this 800klm long high-pressure gas pipeline route is overwhelming opposed by farmers, equine establishments, small acreage lifestyle landholders, coal mining workers on their home property's, to coal mines themselves. Hunter Gas are now actively looking to corrupt the usage of our Travelling stock reserves and crown land reserves as a retreat option for locating their pipeline off increasingly resistant landholders. We know this path forward will be costly, time consuming and rather problematic in their attempts to move forward, and still leaves our community's at the real risk of gasfields spread anywhere along the pipeline route.
Community's are having a real effect on proponents when they stand together in unison. The Liverpool Plains community have done so before, blockading Santos and BHP in our Shire, and will do so again when called upon. Hopefully Hunter Gas are getting our not so subtle warnings of their future failure like proponents before them.
Peter Wills, Quirindi