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Selling us down the river

By Bernard Eddy - posted Thursday, 29 July 2010

Climate change and water management are in a woeful state in Australia.

Australia is more vulnerable to water shortage and the ravages of climate change than any other place on earth.

All too soon we will hand over this brown land to our children: they will pass the bundle to theirs. My prediction is coming generations will jump up and down on our graves if the country is handed over in its present state.


Last week, Australia was told, for the first time in a decade of subterfuge, that the privatisation of water is the aim, “moving forward”. The Australian government has chosen to side with  Canada, USA and the UK, the countries opposing Bolivia’s move to declare water a commons.

Twenty years of myopic mismanagement has permitted private global water lords to assume control over supply of water to Adelaide, Ballarat and Bendigo and has seen the handing over of billions to global companies to build desalination plants.

And just for some perspective: Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the girl in the top job, has made it clear that Australia will not support the Bolivian peoples’ battle to retain water supplies and services in the hands of the people. Now, we know.

Get onto the Centre for Public Integrity website and become familiar with the horrors of living with water privatisation.

It is an impossibility for a corporation to satisfy investors and provide inexpensive, reliable water services. Nowhere in the world has such a thing been achieved. "Simply put, the answer to the world’s water crisis rests on the principles of conservation, water justice and democracy. No global corporation that must be competitive to survive can act on these principles." Maude Barlow Blue Covenant.

Don't imagine for one second it can't happen in Australia. Directly across the ditch, New Zealanders are under siege. Local councils in Wellington are likely to be granted the right to sign up global water rats to provide water services and supplies.


Now dear readers - or those with shares in Vivendi and Veolia - the term “water rats” is justified. The CEO handling this in NZ, left South Australia to seal the deal. He is on record as saying. “We're not here because we've got bleeding hearts for Christ's sake. We're here to make money.” (Centre for Public Integrity “The Big Poo”.)

Water is the gossamer web that binds all life together. Water and climate are pivotal in the formula for a sustainable Australia. The driest inhabited continent on earth is also the most prone to dirty carbon habits, an addiction which has earned us top spot on the global list of highest polluters per capita.

The rest of the globe looks to Australia as the canary in the climate change mineshaft. We have already experienced significantly altered rainfall patterns, horrendous scorching fires, and dust storms that moved millions of tonnes of topsoil.

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About the Author

Bernard Eddy is the co-convenor of the Australian Water Network.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Bernard Eddy

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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