On the ABC radio news this morning, plans by Simon Corbell and ACTEW to allow Canberrans to pay to avoid water restrictions are foolish and shortsighted – and betray an unbelievable lack of understanding about how a community works.
Water restrictions are a sore topic for Canberrans, but we grudgingly comply – ONLY because we are all in the same boat (other than some fairly reasonable albeit rortable exemptions). The only thing that keeps people conforming to those restrictions is the knowledge that everyone else has to – and an acknowledgement that they are fair and necessary. Allowing rich people to flout the restrictions while others have to starve their gardens will undo the “social cohesion” factor and lead to civil disobedience.
ACTEW’s plan also fails to state the bottom line: what happens if there is a severe water shortage? Will these paid-exempt people not be asked to restrict their water use if dams hit a level where the rest of us are on a “no baths, two minute showers” regime? Apparently that’s the plan.
Can Corbell’s thinking really be so poor?
And what do the Greens think?
[ED – On the other hand the social model imposes no charges on those who flout restrictions currently]