I read a story this week that the Government is going to slash red tape to get more water infrastructure going, which I think means that they are going to build more dams, which will infuriate the greenies, but please the farmers provided that some of that wet stuff falls from the sky to fill up the aforementioned dams.
John Howard made a similar policy commitment in 1996 and doubtless similar commitments have been made many times since the Commonwealth of Australian began in 1901, but it has all been to all to no detectable avail, so what’s the problem.
In Australia we have multi-levels of Government from Local, State and Federal and they derive their power through their ability to raise taxes and having that money to distribute and they exercise control through the regulations and laws they pass and then administer, by way of fines.
This creates a multiplicity of red tape and means that it is often very difficult to things done in the Land of Oz without breaking a control administered by some little Hitler, or even several.
A news item told me a few weeks ago that an indulgent NSW State Government was relaxing a regulation to allow farmers to shoot feral deer on their own property without seeking a permit. The deer are escapees from deer farming operations that went broke a few years back and have proliferated and are now devastating pastures on the south coast and the farmers had previously been banned from shooting them. But why. The mind boggles. What’s it got to do with the regulators? The farmer has grown the pasture for his cattle, not for voracious deer.
The farmer can shoot rabbits, but can’t shoot Bambi was they aren’t classified as feral, so there is another level of regulation.
And another: It has been proposed in Victoria for regulations to compel householders to regulate the size of the mesh of netting used to stop their fruit trees in their own backyards to stop it inadvertently trapping fruit bats and birds that have come to take the fruit. Regulations? Come on. This is getting really stupid.
And don’t start me on the pool fencing legislation that varies from state to state and council to council and is totally stupid or the regulations that govern the capture and use of recycled, particular grey water, on suburban gardens.
We had a golden opportunity in New South Wales a few years ago when the North Shore sewerage system was being revamped to establish a sewer mining facility to clean the water and remove the solids so it could be used as fertiliser, but we blew it and the sewerage goes out to sea off North Head after tertiary treatment.
Among the reasons given at the time was that Sydneysiders apparently don’t like the idea of using recycled water, although I suspect it was because Water Board Engineers like having their photographs taken standing in front of big pipes.
A good friend of mine says that as we don’t make anything in Australia anymore, so the only way that employment can be created is by employing an army of Government officials to police the labyrinth of laws and regulations.
Federal politicians can promise that they will slash red tape, but fat chance that the regulators will gladly give up their power, so there it will rest for another twenty years until a new crop of pollies makes the same promise.
Maybe, someone will then say – been there done that.