Lake Eyre Basin Rivers 100 It also devalued the work of dedicated people who fought to protect these rivers. Most disappointing, the government abused its powers, choosing to ignore and disengage with people who thought differently about sustainability. It pandered to a small vocal pro- development lobby and adopted an ideological approach to the development of the rivers, favouring the march of exploration and development of gas resources. Nobody talked to me about what I thought and in fact I was actively disengaged by the Liberal National Party on this issue, perhaps because of my publicly vocal opposition to development at the expense of the rivers. I am angry, frustrated and cynical with people in positions of power, particularly politicians for abusing their power to drive their own agendas. They are supposed to be governing for people like me as well. The results of this advisory process came in, with predictable results and consequences. Sadly, the recommendations, while protecting the rivers to some extent, allowed development of existing sleeper licences (water) for small-scale irrigation and did not completely protect these rivers (Western Rivers Advisory Panel 2013) in the same way that the Wild Rivers legislation did (see Chapters 20 and 22). It opened up potential for development of the floodplains by oil and gas interests which may affect floodplain flows (see Chapter 22). The Newman Government ignored due process, the community and expert advice. We must continue the fight to protect these three rivers from the creeping insidious irrigation development that has killed off the rivers of the south in the Murray–Darling Basin, the dollar driven coal seam gas (CSG) operators and the government/mining alliance who abuse their power in order to push their own agendas. It could be said that some governments (at all levels) utilise mining (for infrastructure) to avoid their responsibilities to regional communities. Of most concern is the ‘watering down’ of protection measures for floodplains and major tributaries that were in the Wild River declarations (see Chapter 21). These allow for developments of critical areas, including the potential establishment of oil and gas exploration platforms and infrastructure which could affect the flow patterns of the Channel Country (see Chapter 19). In 2013, the Minister for Natural Resources in Queensland, the Honourable Andrew Cripps, advocated that small-scale irrigation could bring jobs to local communities in western Queensland ( s3685477.htm). It doesn’t matter how big or small the irrigation is it takes away water used by the river downstream and on floodplains. With small-scale irrigation, there are licences that can be bought, sold and traded, potentially driving up development as in the Condamine–Balonne (see Chapters 14, 15 and 21). The relaxation of protection measures opens up the potential for mining to impact on these rivers and their floodplains. I’m not against mining or progress. Yet I am against development at the expense of country and its waters. Such decisions by governments are dangerous and irresponsible to our country and its waters one that we have been responsibly managing for a long time. Let’s please learn from the past. Look around the world. Look in our own backyard at the Murray–Darling Basin. We have had to spend billions of dollars trying to sort that system out because it was over allocated for irrigation. We (Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owners) are all frustrated because we worry about the future of these rivers, the future of
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