Having started the day belligerently mouthing off in the media [Canberra Times] about how the ACT wasn’t on board with the PM’s water plan Katy Gallagher has put out a media release saying now she understands it she thinks it’s A-OK.
That makes me wonder if anyone was opening Mr. Stanhope’s mail while he’s been gallivanting around India because normally everyone going into these meetings is around the detail before it starts and the detail was rather publicly posted to all the leaders.
Things get a little more alarming when Katy explains why she is now calm.
Ms Gallagher said she was happy to receive confirmation that the thrust of the Prime Ministerâ€™s plan was to better manage the allocation of water for irrigation â€” a matter that had almost no relevance for the ACT, where the vast bulk of water was extracted for urban use.
Now I’m pretty sure that the water doesn’t fall out of the sky with labels on it “urban use” and “irrigation”.
The ACT’s essential fall back position on water is to be able to take flows out of the world’s longest irrigation ditch, the Murrumbidgee River, possibly having purchased a release from the bigger dams upstream.
So water for irrigation is absolutely crucially relevant for the ACT. If we can guarantee a supply of irrigation water at a reasonable price we could end water restrictions tomorrow.
Fortunately the ACT has another two weeks to finally do its homework and maybe walk into the meeting fully briefed this time, albeit still behind the 8-ball after today’s fiasco.
UPDATED: Richard Mulcahy has seized on the hapless Katy’s ignorance and finished by cracking a funny.
“It is absurd that someone with so little understanding of water has been put in charge of negotiating such an important piece of national water policy. One almost wishes for the speedy the return of the Chief Minister.”