Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Politics of IPR in Queensland

I don’t want to get too caught up in politics, but this has been an interesting week for water recycling in Queensland (and its only Tuesday!). I thought it would be useful to provide an update on where the major political players stand in that State. The issue, of course, is indirect potable water recycling (IPR)…involving using highly treated effluent to (intentionally and openly) supplement dwindling supplies in Brisbane’s Wivenhoe Dam.

QLD Premier Beattie has proposed a community poll on the issue, originally slated for 2008. However, Beattie now suggests a South East Queensland poll may be required as soon as next year.

QLD Liberal Leader Dr Bruce Flegg says forget the poll and get on with water recycling as a matter of urgency.

Labor and Liberal members of Brisbane City Council voted today to support any poll, but Liberal Councillor Jane Prentice agrees with Dr Flegg that such a referendum is a waste of time and Beattie should just bight the bullet.

Brisbane (Liberal) Lord Mayor Campbell Newman is a strong supporter of IPR and was prepared to say so long before most.

The State Nationals Leader Jeff Seeney says it is “the Coalition’s vision to ensure all of Queensland’s waste water was recycled to put an end to ocean outfalls”. However, Seeney’s support is for a pipeline to carry recycled water for industry and agricultural use. He has stopped short of supporting IPR except as a “a worst-case scenario”. He says “there would be no decision on whether to support the recycled water referendum until the question's wording was revealed”.

Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett has been a tireless campaigner for water recycling as an alternative to building new dams in Queensland.

The Queensland Greens have a formal policy supporting IPR as a component of overall urban water management.

So there you have it. In South East Queensland at least, the political differences appear largely to have moved on from support or opposition to IPR. Of course, not everyone supports it but the main differences now seem to revolve around details like whether a poll is appropriate or an unnecessary delay, and just how urgent things need to get before action should be taken.


waterboy said...

You forgot to mention that Premier Beattie is considering forcing Toowoomba to vote again on the same recycled sewage question.

Expect a higher no vote this time around. Does he really want to reignite the debate? Expect a lot tougher play this time around.

Stuart Khan said...

Thanks for your comment Waterboy. However the suggestion that Tooowoomba should not be given the opportunity to vote on this scheme seems to be inconsistent. For months I have been told that the Toowoomba vote was “not about the Yuck Factor”. Instead, many people were unhappy with specific issues to do with that scheme:

Where would the brine go if Acland Coal refuse to take it?
How much of a cost blow out would this cause Toowoomba?
How will the loss of water down Oakey Creek affect downstream irrigators?
Does Toowoomba even have enough effluent to make a significant long term difference?
All of these plus a general dissatisfaction with TCC’s approach to planning and implementing the scheme.
Local politics was also an obvious factor.

If these issues were significant, then surely the Toowoomba community would appreciate the opportunity to have a say on the proposed SEQ Scheme. It seems to me that Beattie’s proposal is quite different to the Toowoomba scheme so many of these issues will have changed significantly. Only a person with an ideological opposition to planned indirect potable reuse could be certain that both schemes would be equally unpalatable to them. I give the Toowoomba community much more credit than that. They will want to examine the proposal in detail and judge it on its merits.

Annette said...

Stuart: You can’t be serious. The Toowoomba “No” campaigners have tasted blood and now have an insatiable need for more. Until now, they have been focusing their energy on having Mayor Thorely removed from office in 2008. They are currently intruding (quite uninvited) on debates in Goulburn and Bendigo. These have nothing to do with the Toowoomba proposal which they claimed was “fundamentally flawed”. I’m afraid it has become a religion for many of them and it is our most desperate communities that will suffer most from their zeal.

other options said...

The only ones 'religious' about this are those wanting us the drink the stuff, believe me. An 'insatiable need' for more - this is same irrational commentary opponents have been putting up with for over a year. Annette, you're a comedian!!

I cannot believe you want Toowoomba to vote again. Do you really think they will vote yes this time?

FYI - Toowoomba is not actually in SEQ - so why ask them to vote anyway?

Goulburn 'intruder' said...

Annette, hahahahahahahaha!

Annette said...

"Other Options", I suggest you take a peep at the Toowoomba Opposition to Water Recycling blogs. Have a read through the comments of the last couple of days and you will read the rallying of the troops for the next glorious battle. These brave crusading warriers will answer the call wherever they decide they are needed...Goulburn, Bendigo or Brisbane. Rosemary Morely has set herself up as chief Muskateer and her loyal foot-soldiers are rallying around her. Fanatical zeal at it worst.

other options said...

Just like the Greens, the Democrat(s), the Save the Mary River Dam crowd, Ian Kiernan, Jenifer Simpson etc NEVER "intruded (quite uninvited)" into the debate in Toowoomba.

They never went near the place, nor offered their view on what Toowoomba should do. Of course not.

As for CADS, do I think they're fanatical? Having met quite a few of the Yes campaigners during the debate, by comparison, I think not.

The Yes campaigners seem focused on only one thing - making us drink recycled water.

game on said...

We beat them once. We'll beat them again!

Only Toowoomba said...

annette some no to recycled water for drinking campaigners don't care about other places but will defend toowoomba against another thorley/beattie onslaught

Wal said...

Toowoomba should keep its precious little fingers out of Wivenhoe -recycled water or not. They claim to have many other options, so they should pay to clean up the water from coal-seam gas extraction or buy water from irrigators. Brisbane is already water-stressed and should not even consider providing water to other cities who claim to have other options.

W.F. Blog said...

I agree Wal.

Brisbane people should become irate that their Wivenhoe water would be considered for pumping up to the top of a mountain to Toowoomba.

The amount of power needed will cause huge amounts of greenhouse gas.

They propose to take the pipeline through areas of forest causing endless damage to state forest and disrupting koala corridors.

It's absolute madness and you should take some action and organise protests to Beattie.

Stuart Khan said...

Premier Beattie announced the Queensland IPR Poll today for March 17, 2007. Since the City of Toowoomba are considering sourcing their water from Wivenhoe Dam, they have been included among the 19 Local Government Areas given the opportunity to have a say (not that everyone seems to appreciate it).

For the record, I agree that piping water up the Great Dividing Range is either madness or an indication of sheer desperation. I will be very interested to read the report from the task force established to investigate Toowoomba’s options. Hopefully we will see it in the next few weeks.

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