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The floods, the loony Greens and a new tax

January 27th, 2011 · Greg Atkinson · 10 Comments

The devastating floods across much of Australia should remind people that Australia has been for a long time, a land of drought and flooding rains. The floods have tragically not only taken lives, but will also have a lasting negative impact on the economy and sadly the Government seems intent on using the floods as an excuse for it’s own poor management of the economy.

When Kevin Rudd came to power in 2007 he blamed just about every problem or challenge he faced on the previous Howard Government.  The country was a mess according to Kev07 but never fear, he gathered the best and brightest together in Canberra for the Australia 2020 Summit.

In early 2009 I commented that during the period around the Summit:

“the Federal Government was in fantasy land and engaged in a public relations stunt that I guarantee you, will not result in any significant long term benefits.”

See: Australia 2020 Summit: Fiddling while Rome burns

Sadly today nothing much as changed and now we have the Julia Gillard led Government engaged in another public relations exercise which involves using the floods as an excuse for their budget being in tatters by attacking insurance companies, and trying to invoke the ‘spirit of mateship’ to slide in a new tax via the back door.

The reason the Government doesn’t have the money to fix the damage caused by the floods is because they have wasted billions and spent all the surplus gifted to them by Howard/Costello. It’s as simple as that.

They could borrow for school halls that were not needed, but they now don’t have the money to fix roads, rail links and critical infrastructure.

Just to refresh people memories here are some example of where the Government spent millions of dollars of the economic stimulus money as I mentioned in an article back in May 2009 entitled: Rudd Economics 101: When in doubt spend like crazy.

  • In the ACT part of the $2 million assigned is for a new facility which “will include youth spaces, performance stages, rest and respite areas, Ipod and wireless docks, art display areas and a street style skate plaza with rideable objects such as railings and steps”.
  • In NSW the Young Shire Council will receive $388,000 for various projects including one project involving the “Design and installation of tourist and information banners to enhance the streets of Young”.
  • Finally not to be outdone, in Western Australia $100k will be given to the Shire of Beverly “to provide asphalt and kerbed access ways to cemeteries”.  Mmmm….nation building for the afterlife?

Of course a small fortune was also spent on building school halls and covered outdoor learning areas (COLA’s) which is just another way of saying a very expensive awning.

So now the Government finds itself struggling the balance the books because Gillard, Swan and Co say the flood has ruined all their plans and they have run out of money.

The reality is that the Government went on a spending spree to essentially buy votes without any concern for the long term needs of the nation or with any focus on long term productivity gains.  It was a scandalous waste of money and now for Gillard to try an invoke nationalism to enable her to bring in a flood levy is simply disgraceful behaviour. I for one has lost any respect I had for the woman and for this Whitlamesque Government.

The public should be enraged.  What the Government is doing is using a tragedy to cover it’s own economic incompetence.

But it’s gets worse because Bob Brown from the Greens Party claimed that the Queensland floods were as a result of climate change and suggested that the coal industry be made to pay an extra tax because they were a major reason the climate was changing.

Forget about La Nina, the rotation of the earth or the natural climate variations that have been taking place for thousands of years because Bob Brown has cleverly worked out that the Queensland coal mines were are cause of floods.

As many people have pointed out, when Brisbane flooded in 1893 the water level was much higher than this years floods, so Bob Brown’s link between coal mining in Australia and flooding is quite simply without any foundation and ludicrous.

Bob Browns comments about the cause of the Queensland floods and others from his Green party put them well and truly in the loony category.  But it gets even worse.

In an article: Dam push: to damn or not to damn? by Daniel Hurst in the Brisbane Times we can get a feel for how people who say they are “Green” or “Environmentalists” can get away with making the most ridiculous comments and set themselves up as experts, in areas that they have neither the training or competence to justify them making such claims.

For example, in the above article World Wildlife Fund national freshwater policy manager Sean Hoobin is quoted as saying:

“As far as the flood goes, it’s somewhat of a hoax to say that dams will solve the flooding problems. The size of the floods that are happening, no normal dam is going to have really any impact on that.”

What utter rubbish. Dams have been successfully used to control flooding all over the world. You don’t build “normal” dams, you build the dams (and levees etc) needed for flood mitigation.

A more logical and knowledge based approach is outlined in the same article by University of Queensland hydraulic engineer, Professor Hubert Chanson who comments:

“There’s no doubt that well-designed, properly implemented dams on reservoir structures with proper resource management can certainly alleviate and improve the situation both in terms of our water supply and flooding.”

If we are ever going to have a reasonable debate about climate change and environmental issues then we need to start listening more to people who are qualified about such issues and less to those who are simply just spokespeople or lobbyists.

It’s also no use people getting angry with the insurance companies in the aftermath of the floods because they didn’t cause the flooding in the first place. (But I better check with Bob Brown on this)

If people want to get angry then they should get angry at individuals and groups who have lead a campaign based on misinformation against the building of new dams and flood control measures.

People should get angry that the Federal Government wasted billions of dollars handed to them by the previous Government and now have no funds left to help rebuild the nation.

People should get angry with town planners who allowed hosing to go ahead in areas prone to flooding without taking an adequate flood mitigation works.

Finally many people should get angry with themselves for the way they accepted the Rudd Government’s cash handouts with little concern about where the money came from and failed to rage against the continued wasteful spending on such things as the Building Education Revolution (BER) and National Broadband Network (NBN) Debacles.

So now Gillard will now try and implement a new tax disguised as a levy. This will be in addition to the carbon tax and the new mining tax. That’s three new taxes we know so far but there will be more money grabs made by this Government because they only know how to do one thing – spend, spend…spend!


10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Barry Lind // Jan 29, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Maybe we should call Gillard’s levy the “save the NBN” tax? I don’t understand why they could not have just re-directed money from the NBN to fix the flood damage.

  • 2 Senator13 // Jan 30, 2011 at 9:37 am

    If you wreck your budget so much as can not pay for contingencies for things such as floods, droughts, bushfires in a place like Australia and have to resort to a new tax there are some big problems.

  • 3 Futureproof // Jan 30, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    In the ACT part of the $2 million assigned is for a new facility which “will include youth spaces, performance stages, rest and respite areas, Ipod and wireless docks, art display areas and a street style skate plaza with rideable objects such as railings and steps”.

    This would have to be the Woden Skate Park. It has one of those Economic Stimulus signs plum in front of it.

    I am not an economist, just a plain old schmuck. But what if the government diverted one quarter of one percent of GST revenue for 12 months. Wouldn’t they get their money (and the some) from this?

  • 4 Greg Atkinson // Jan 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Here is a classic comment from Tim “I think I am an expert on all science subjects” Flannery:

    “But by far the most dangerous trend is the decline in the flow of Australian rivers: it has fallen by around 70 per cent in recent decades, so dams no longer fill even when it does rain.”

    This is the sort of misinformation that results in dams not being built.

    I wonder if Tim now feels like a goose?

    For more of Tim’s wonderful predictions back in 2007 you can read the full article here:

    Australia – not such a lucky country

    He also likes desalination plants, which in Queensland have basically been mothballed.

  • 5 Futureproof // Feb 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Tim Flannery is an expert on the benefits of the Chairman’s Lounge at various airports around the world. I’m positive he has flown the equivalent distance of pioneer 10’s current location in deep space.

    Funny how those who squeal the loudest about AGW are the ones who produce the most polution in stressing their point to the plebs.

  • 6 Greg Atkinson // Feb 3, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Indeed FB. Journalists tend to be in that category as well. They don’t seem to see the irony in talking up global warming and then flying en masse to cover anything from a G20 meeting to the Olympic Games.

    I also wonder why we didn’t see a levy to cover the impact of the GFC…the economic impact of that on the economy was much larger.

    So according to Gillard and company the economy is booming and running at near capacity, but there is no money to pay for flood damage. Strange.

    Maybe it is because Government spending is out of control hey?

  • 7 Biker Pete // Feb 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    The silliness continues: Hockey: 1 Abbott: 0

    http://www.watoday.com.au/environment/weather/lib-plea-for-cash-to-fight-flood-levy-wrong-hockey-20110207-1aj2c.html

  • 8 Greg Atkinson // Feb 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    How Joe Hockey holds onto his spot on the Opposition front bench is beyond me. It’s the Oppositions job to hold the Government to account so if they feel the flood tax is wrong, then it’s game on..what’s the problem?

  • 9 Biker Pete // Feb 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Read ‘The Master’ to see how bad a misstep politically Abbott’s gaffe was. Yes, we could accuse Hockey of disloyalty to his leader. Nothing new there… on _either_ side.

    But Hockey quickly realised what a major blunder it was… and capitalised on it. He’s more clever _politically_ than Abbott, who has some strengths, none of them in negotiation, as his failure to wrest government from Labor in disarray shows.

    “How Joe Hockey holds onto his spot on the Opposition front bench is beyond me.” Keep your friends close… and your enemies closer… .

    I doubt we’ll see Abbott in power in my lifetime. I think it likely that a less-feared, less-hated Liberal like Hockey might just get a guernsey. 😉

  • 10 Senator13 // Feb 26, 2011 at 9:07 am

    And now another new tax… The carbon tax shows that the loony greens are the ones pulling the strings and Bob Brown is the de facto PM. A very worrying development indeed.

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