About blasted time. The Victorian opposition, led by the Nationals, has finally come out from under a rock and called for the construction of Big Buffalo.
The land has been owned for years and it's estimated that it would cost at least $1 billion to increase capacity from 24GL to 400GL. The federal government reportedly has $2 billion dollars in the kitty for such projects.
But insipid was the announcement at a time when we need to have bulldozers hard at work. The plans are there, so get on with it. Ah yes, a problem is that the Victorian government is against the building of any more dams, and the best Ovens Valley MP Tim McCurdy can do is talk about blackberries.
We also need to remember that this change of heart flies in the face of the past position of Nationals leader Peter Walsh.
Rainfall figures demonstrate that sufficient rain would push a new dam to capacity in several months.
Currently, Buffalo and William Hovel are full and more than 1300ML daily is spilling downstream to the Murray. Even if the increased volume was tagged solely for the environment, it would result in 100 per cent of the water recovered from irrigators being returned to the presumptive pool.
Nationals water spokeswoman Steph Ryan has the described the plan as "nation building". She's certainly correct, however "critical" may be a better description. Former Premier Jeff Kennett talks about the urgent need for infrastructure - Big Buffalo could be the start.
If we were to take note of every global warming prediction, we would have given up long ago.
Al Gore and Tim Flannery made predictions that did not eventuate - in fact they crashed and burned.
Even if there was an inkling of mature concern, public opinion takes a battering from such hoax calls. We seem to be able to handle the present situation and world food supplies are certainly not under threat.
Take the current report by Australian climate risk analysis firm XDI. If it's correct, the good folk of Shepparton and Wangaratta need to be filling sandbags and checking the fuel in the tinny. Quoting from the report: "Greater Shepparton in Victoria emerged as the local government area most at risk from riverine flooding both in 2020 and 2100, followed by the Gold Coast and Brisbane in Queensland, and Wangaratta in Victoria."
It follows that large areas of the Murray, Goulburn and Broken river areas would be inundated. And this is next year. This should be music to our water-starved nation, as they say there is no gain without pain. Maybe Lake Mokoan should be recommissioned and the wall reinstated by the idiots who block our city streets.