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Northern food bowl myths

When the Coalition announced this week their proposal to double food production in northern Australia by means of a set of dams my mind wandered to thoughts of the great Bruce Davidson and his monumental study, The Northern Myth, that was written more than 40 years ago. I read it in my final years at high school.  Davidson set out all the reasons why such utopian schemes as that proposed by the Coalition were likely to fail and accurately predicted the problems of the Ord River scheme – poor soils and lack of decent dam sites being significant issues.  Andrew Campbell over at the Crikey.com blog. Rooted,  makes the same sorts of points about the Coalition plan and refers to the Davidson study.   There are environmental arguments against such schemes – this is  the anti-dam attitude of the Greens – but the main practical difficulty is that they do not stack up economically.

My guess is that this sort of scheme won’t ever get off the ground – Andrew Robb says it is currently “work in progress”!  Those among us who are dismayed by the negativity of the Coalition and its lack of worthwhile policies in general often come to the conclusion that they are fixated on gaining government so that policy issues have been put on the back burner. The Coalition  understand, for example,  the need for labour market reform, but think that since WorkChoices was unpopular so they will not touch the issue.  It might be true that the Coalition has a primarily political orientation but it might also be the case that this ill-informed bunch of nits don’t really have much in the way of decent policies to offer. Its a really worrying thought.

5 comments to Northern food bowl myths

  • observa

    “hose among us who are dismayed by the negativity of the Coalition and its lack of worthwhile policies in general often come to the conclusion that they are fixated on gaining government so that policy issues have been put on the back burner.”
    The major priority being to clean up the mess and deficits left by the current Govt, which will put any thought of very fast train type thought bubbles right back where they belong. That’s enough positivity for a couple of terms at least, judging by the last $90 bill black hole from one of the world’s greatest treasurers. Think of it as the negation of negativity which will naturally produce a positive.

  • via collins

    at risk of asking you to address the substance of Harry’s actual comment Observa, are you aware of one, or two, coherent, effective, workable policies on the opposition side of federal parliament?

    i think his point is not what you project on the ALP, but rather the absence of alternatives.

  • Michael

    Why bother even discussing the coalition’s ideas, Abbott has said himself that you can’t take him seriously.

  • KB Keynes

    what fiscal mess?

    The current fiscal consolidation is happening quicker than any other we have seen. the clamps on spending mean spending is much lower than under the Coalition.

    Assuming the World doesn’t go austerity mad and therefore wander into another recession the budget will be back in black despite little benefit from the Commodities boom.
    Indeed if Swan had the tax revenues Costello had in Commodity boom mark 1 we would have a decent surplus already.

    Another topic on which you have little knowledge mate

  • KB Keynes

    I should have added we knew in the last election the Opposition costing didn’t amount to a row of beans but now they have more problems such as their disastrous climate policy which is either dreadfully undercosted or won’t be policy at all.

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