Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Reluctance, or is it just caution?

- Dear Editor,

There has been a lot of media commentary, particular­ly from the leftleanin­g (and taxpayer funded) ABC, about the National Party’s reluctance to sign regional Australia up to a net zero emissions target by 2050.

However, history tells us the Nationals need to be very careful before they make such a commitment, amid concerns it will have negative impacts for those of us who work outside the nation’s capital cities.

You only have to look at how we have been dudded by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to have a good understand­ing of how city-based politics can get in the way of sound environmen­tal management.

In this instance, a ‘plan’ was developed in the name of protecting our environmen­t.

However, in reality, it had one core goal — to shore up environmen­tal votes in South Australia and capital cities.

To achieve these goals there was ‘modelling’ undertaken to ‘prove’ that the Murray River and other parts of the basin were dying and needed massive ‘environmen­tal flows’ to survive.

As we now know, a lot of this modelling was false.

Yet we get no changes to the plan despite vast initial promises that it would always be adaptive and flexible.

As a consequenc­e, communitie­s have suffered — especially those in the Murray regions of NSW and Victoria which rely heavily on food and fibre production for their economic prosperity.

Some in the National Party — eg our previous and current Queensland based water ministers David Littleprou­d and Keith Pitt — are happy to toe the Liberal Party line, purely for political reasons, that this failing Basin Plan must be completed “in full and on time” despite its many failings.

Others whose political futures rely on retaining seats in affected areas want changes to the plan, but do not have the political pull to achieve it.

And so, the communitie­s which are suffering because of its shortcomin­gs can ‘whistle Dixie’, because nothing will be done.

Will the same thing happen with promises around the ‘net zero emissions’ target?

Will the Liberal Party again con the Nationals into supporting a policy that is good for the city-based Liberals, but disastrous for regional Australia, amid promises that it will be ‘flexible and adaptive’ in the future, yet (like the Basin Plan) with no intention of having any flexibilit­y if regional areas are seen to suffer?

I suspect this will be the case. So while it’s fine for the highly paid commentato­rs on ‘our ABC’ and other media to ridicule the National Party for its stance, its reluctance may well be due to the voter backlash it will suffer if regional Australia is again the sacrificia­l lamb for the Liberal Party’s political future.

Politician­s have lied through their back teeth and left hard-working regional Australian­s hanging out to dry over the Basin Plan.

Why would climate change policy be any different?

Yours etc. Lloyd Polkinghor­ne Deputy chair, Speak Up Campaign

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