TOYS, books, dining table, lounge, pots, ports, recycled water scheme, desalination plant, huge electricity generators – everything must go!
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The Newman Government is surely pulling our leg with its plans to either sell the $1.2 billion Tugun desalination plant to the private sector or shut it down completely – and presumably dismantle it.
Premier Campbell ‘Have I got a deal for you’ Newman, Deputy Premier Jeff ‘Frequent Flyer’ Seeney and Treasurer Tim ‘Next in Line’ Nicholls spent a great deal of taxpayer-funded time in Parliament on Thursday touting the benefits of assets sales.
You know – privatisation – that thing they promised not to do without a mandate at the next election.
An election, if a shock poll held this week is right, they will struggle to win.
No wonder they have stepped up the sales pitch.
A slew of ministers gave almost identical speeches slamming the previous Labor government for building the desal plant and the $2.6 billion Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme.
Over the coming weeks cabinet will be looking at options such as keeping one or both, investigating alternative uses, shutting them down or selling them off.
Yes, former premier Peter Beattie, despite being warned for years about a looming water crisis, failed to do anything about it until the dams were almost drained.
Then he panicked and spent about $10 billion building a grid of water projects that, wouldn’t you know it, were completed just as the drought broke.
However, a large part of that was also spent on pipelines between the dams so the entire south east could share water when needed.
If a private company did buy the desal plant would we have to pay inflated prices for water if there is another severe drought?
Because the desalination has not been mothballed the entire time.
It ran at full capacity during the 2011 and 2013 flood emergencies when some areas were left without drinking water.
The CSIRO has warned there will be more extreme droughts and floods in future years, prompting water experts to recommend desal plants as a vital party of Australia’s water security.
Let’s not throw the baby out with the desalinated bath water.
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