Many vi­tal in fight­ing wa­ter war

Townsville Bulletin - - 1 4 6 2 7 5 8 3 -

OF all the wa­ter- re­lated com­men­tary this week one thing caught my eye – it was a pic­ture of a news­pa­per clip­ping from a 1993 edi­tion of the North­ern Miner shared by Traeger MP Rob­bie Kat­ter.

“Con­struc­tion of a per­ma­nent weir at Big Rocks could start as early as next April,” the ar­ti­cle said.

Twenty five years later and the weir has fi­nally re­ceived fund­ing.

It’s a sim­i­lar story when you look at dams for the Flin­ders River or long term wa­ter se­cu­rity for Townsville.

So what changed that Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son would swoop in and fund all three ideas in less than a week? Surely Mr Mor­ri­son wouldn’t have given $ 200 mil­lion to Stage 2 of the Haughton Pipe­line if he hadn’t been lob­bied by LNP can­di­date for Herbert Phillip Thomp­son or Daw­son MP Ge­orge Chris­tensen.

Yet the LNP may not have even con­sid­ered the project a fed­eral is­sue if Herbert MP Cathy O’Toole hadn’t set the prece­dent by get­ting La­bor leader Bill Shorten to com­mit $ 100 mil­lion first.

Stage 2 wouldn’t be on the ta­ble if the State Govern­ment hadn’t been the first to throw bank­able cash at Stage 1.

It’s un­likely they would have done so with­out pres­sure from lo­cal state mem­bers and the Townsville City Coun­cil.

None of them would have known the pipe­line was the best op­tion with­out the Townsville Wa­ter Se­cu­rity Task­force. And the task­force was only able to de­cide this thanks to the 30odd years of pre­vi­ous stud­ies.

Then there’s the Wa­ter For Townsville Ac­tion Group, with its 12,000 mem­bers and un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to the cause.

I could weave you a sim­i­lar ex­am­ple us­ing Hells Gates, with peo­ple like Kennedy MP Bob Kat­ter, Se­na­tor Matt Cana­van, Se­na­tor Ian Mac­don­ald and Townsville En­ter­prise all play­ing star­ring roles.

I’ve only lived in Townsville since Jan­uary and even I can see the is­sue of wa­ter se­cu­rity in North Queens­land is big­ger than any one party, govern­ment or group. It’s big­ger than this pa­per, it’s big­ger than the suc­ces­sion of ed­i­tors who have helped guide decades of pub­lic de­bate.

In the short term in­di­vid­u­als will claim credit ( there are elec­tions to be won) but hope­fully his­tory re­mem­bers this as a whole com­mu­nity achieve­ment.

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