Ross Gittins says of the government’s $10 billion National Plan for Water Security “They don’t want to fix problems, just be seen trying“. As has become abundantly clear from Channel 7’s FOI exercise, the whole thing was cooked up in a week or so, with the aim of countering a co-operative initiative launched by Kevin Rudd. Once it was out, the problem was that the only policy that would have any real effect, buying back water rights, was vetoed by the Nationals. So, in the Budget, the whole Plan was kicked into touch until 2008-09, by which time the election would be safely out of the way.
I have been very disappointed in Turnbull’s performance on this issue. He obviously knows what needs to be done, and if anyone had the capacity to ride roughshod over the Nats, I would have thought he did. I can only conclude that, having been put into the job by Howard, he has had no backing and has been, in effect, set up to fail.
(Thanks to Tim Coelli for pointing me to this piece).