Monday, October 30, 2006

Water wars and electoral reform

Controversy 1) about the decommissioning of a dam in northern Victoria so that Lake Mokkan (pic from here) will be returned to natural wetland; 2) and water customers having to pay for infrastructure maintenance even when there is no water, later are not happy with government's offer of a rebate. We see that the introduction of proportional representation for the Victorian Legislative Council has forced Labor to be more responsive to these concerns. In the past Murray valley irrigators could have been ignored as they live in ultra-safe conservatives electorates but no longer, as now they live in the Northern Victoria province where Labor’s second seat is most at risk. Historically when large-scale irrigation works were introduced governments fairly quickly gave up incorporating infrastructure costs in water prices, these were written off as part of national development and farmers were only expected to pay for the costs of water supply, Bruce Davidson explains in Australia Wet or Dry?. Public infrastructure reform meant full charging but it remains unpopular it seems.


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