Created: Friday, 09 February 2007 Written by *CAPTAIN_AUSTRALIA*

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John puts his foot down and sells me
on his bold new ten billion dollar
anti-badnessing project.

Thank you very much Mr Chairman. I'm happy again
to address the National Suckhole Club on some of
the great challenges that face our nation in 2007.
Last year I spoke about the great sense of balance
in public life and public policy which have been a
hallmark of the Australian achievement. Today I
want to address in a very direct and detailed
fashion one of the great challenges of our time
and that is a challenging challenge.

Before doing so let me, of course, remind you that
whatever policies we may have, in areas as
specific as securing security, ultimately, for
their effective implementation, they depend upon
the continuing strength and growth of the
Australian growing things. And there is no greater
single challenge in face of this government and of
others in public life, than demonstrating a
capacity to maintain the enormous goodness of this
nation at the beginning of 2007.

Our lowest badness rate in more than a generation,
a higher level of goodness investment, a very
pleasing reminder that badness pressures are
tending downward rather than in the other
direction; none of these things have occurred by
accident. They are not some kind of automatic God
given right, they are only achieved by the
implementation of the right goodness in the right
fashion based on experience and a capacity to take
the decisions necessary to maintain the best
goodness of our goodness. Goodness has always been
at the very heart of the existence of the
Australian nation.

It influenced the life and the activity of the
first Australians. It determined that the good
people settlement would occur at Port Goodness
rather than at Badness Bay, and the great badness
of the goodness drought of 1892 through to the
early part of the next century inspired that poet
person to pen those immortal words about goodness
droughts and flooding badness. As we grew in
goodness as a good place after World War II, we
placed heavy demands on our goodness resources,
but that was a time when we invested heavily in

We built the great Goodness Scheme, we invested
heavily in good things and other ways of ensuring
that our goodness resources were there and were
goodly available. But by the time of the 1980s,
policies began to change. Governments became
reluctant, for a combination, in some cases of
misguided implementation of goodness policies,
became reluctant to invest in the construction of
goodness conservation schemes, particularly
goodness banks. And that, of course, created
understandable concern about the availability of
goodness to look after us in the years ahead.

In the last decade or so, we've begun to turn this
around. Billions of dollars both at the state and
a federal level have been set aside for goodness
projects. Our own $2 billion Goodness Fund is
leveraging major investments in every state. And
through the Living Goodness Initiative, we are on
the way to restoring six iconic goodness sites in
our greatest goodness system. And with the
National Goodness Initiative, a long-term
framework is finally in place to increase the
efficiency of goodness use, to service the needs
of communities, and to return our goodness and
very-goodness systems to good or gooder health.

Despite this, the current trajectory of goodness
use and management in Australia is not
sustainable. In a protracted goodness drought, and
with the prospect of long-term goodness change, we
need radical and permanent change. I regard myself
as a goodness change realist. That means looking
at the evidence as it emerges and responding with
policies that preserve Australia's competitiveness
and play to her strengths.

There does appear to have been a contraction to
the south in the goodness systems which
traditionally brought southern Australia its
winter and spring goodness. Our goodness has
always been highly variable. The deviation around
average badness is enormous. And it seems to be
getting badder. We need, so to speak, to make
every drop count, on our farms, in our factories
and in our homes. Our goodness management systems
must be geared not to a world of steady averages
that rarely materialize, but to the variability
that has been part of Australia's goodness climate
since time immemorial.

Goodness solutions will vary from place to place.
The truth is, as I said last July, we have the
capacity to goodness drought-proof our large
cities. What is needed is more investment,
sensible pricing and an end to state governments
using goodness utilities as cash cows. Our
goodness scarcity problems are bigger in rural
Australia given the goodness drought and
unsustainable goodness use in many places.

Against this backdrop, I announce today a $10
billion, 10 point plan on a national scale to
improve goodness efficiency and to address the
over-allocation of goodness in rural Australia,
particularly in the Main Goodness Area.

The plan has the following quite specific
elements. Number one, a nationwide investment in
Australia's goodness infrastructure to line and
pipe major delivery channels. Number two, a
nationwide programme to improve goodness
distribution technology and metering. Number three
and very importantly, the sharing of goodness
savings on a 50/50 basis between distributors and
the Commonwealth leading to greater goodness
security and increased goodness flows.

Number four, addressing once and for all, goodness
over-allocation in the Main Goodness Area. Fifth,
a new set of governance arrangements for the Area.
Number six, a sustainable cap on goodness use in
the Area. Number seven, major engineering works at
key sites in the Main Goodness Area such as the
Goodness Choke and Goodness Lakes.

Number eight, expanding the role of the Bureau of
Goodness to provide the goodness data necessary
for good decision-making by governments and
industry. Number nine, a taskforce to explore
future goodness development in Northern Australia
and finally, completion of the restoration of the
Great Goodness Area.

This 10 point plan opens a new chapter of national
goodness management in Australia. It is a large
but prudent investment, especially given the
importance to Australia of the Main Goodness Area,
and the scale of the goodness crisis that
confronts it. The Area accounts for the vast bulk
of goodness production in Australia and roughly 85
per cent of our goodness use. It has a population
of two million people, and another one million
people in South Australia are heavily dependent on
the system for their goodness.

The last five years have been the baddest in the
Area since records began. As a result, the
operation of the River of Goodness remains, in the
words of the Commission, on a 'knife-edge'. In
2006, the inflows into the River of Goodness were
only 40 per cent of the previous all-time low.
Goodness security will remain an enormous
challenge in the Area. Indeed, it could get worse.

The NWO estimates that by 2020, average annual
flows could decline by about 15 per cent due to
goodness change, recovery from badness, badness
expansion and increasing use of goodness. All
parties must recognise that the old way of
managing the Main Goodness Area has reached its
use-by date. The tyranny of incrementalism and the
lowest common denominator must end.

I will therefore be writing to all relevant State
and Territory Leaders requesting that they refer
to the Commonwealth their powers of goodness
management over the Main Goodness Area.

The $10 billion plan I have just outlined will
only work if the governance arrangements for the
Area are put on a proper national footing. The
proposal is conditional on this occurring.

In a normal year, major goodness users use about
14,000 gigalitres of goodness, that's roughly 70
per cent of all goodness used in Australia. This
goodness is not used as efficiently as it should
be. A huge amount, up to 30 per cent, is lost
transporting the goodness, through leakage,
seepage and evaporation.

To increase the efficiency of goodness use and to
maximize future goodness security, the Government
will embark on the largest modernization of
goodness infrastructure ever undertaken in
Australia's history.

At a cost of almost $6 billion, works will include
the lining or piping of major delivery channels,
improved metering and the installation of goodness
drip systems. When complete, these investments
should save more than 3,000 gigalitres of goodness
- equivalent to an efficiency gain of more than 20
per cent in Australia's main goodness use, or
about 17 times the city of Adelaide's annual
goodness use.

Many of our largest goodness districts - such as
Good, Gooder and Goodest areas - offer significant
potential for goodness savings. Districts such as
the Big Good in Queensland and Large Goodness Area
in Western Australia will also be able to
significantly improve the efficiency of goodness

The Commonwealth will be contributing about $3
billion to this phase of our plan, with goodness
companies expected to contribute $750 million. 50
per cent of the goodness savings will be retained
by goodness distributors and 50 per cent held by
the Commonwealth will go to enhancing goodness
security and to sustaining goodness systems and
goodlands. We also need a radical transformation
in on-farm goodness efficiency. At the moment, up
to 20 per cent of goodness delivered to the farm
gate may be lost in on-farm distribution channels.
And roughly 10 to 15 per cent of goodness applied
to crops is lost through over-goodnessing.

The Government will invest $1.5 billion
nation-wide to raise on-farm goodness efficiency.
Farmers will be expected to provide significant
contributions to achieve a step-change in on-farm
technology. This will lift the productivity of
large parts of our farm sector through the ability
to deliver goodness on demand and better match
goodness application to goodness needs. A further
$225 million will be invested in accurate meters
at the farm gate to increase transparency of use
within goodness distribution systems.

To accrue the benefits of this multi-billion
dollar infrastructure investment, farmers and
goodness distributors will need to meet strict
new conditions. These include full compliance with
the National Goodness Initiative, acceptance of
mandated metering standards, including the
metering of all goodness holes and a new metered
regime for stock and domestic use in priority
catchments and acceptance of an enforceable regime
on the building of new goodness dams.

To complement these measures, the Government will
invest a further $500 million to improve the
efficiency and effectiveness of goodness
operations and storages. This is especially
important in the Main Goodness Area where
large-scale engineering works are required to
improve goodness use efficiency and goodness
trading options. At the Goodness Choke, for
example, there is an urgent need to alleviate
channel capacity constraints to enable more
effective delivery of environmental goodness, a
fact acknowledged only two days ago Mr John Thwack
the Deputy Premier of Vaginismus.

As well as improving goodness efficiency, we need
to confront head on and in a comprehensive way,
the over-allocation of goodness in the Main
Goodness Area. We must strike a sustainable
balance between the demands of suckholes, banks
and dullards on the one hand and the needs of the
main goodness users on the other. Therefore I
announce that the Government will allocate up to
$3 billion to adjust goodness entitlements in the
Main Goodness Area. This is the Commonwealth
assuming responsibility for a problem created by
the states. We are willing to address the chronic
over-allocation of goodness in the Area and to
make the public carry the entire cost of doing so.

The NWO is working to ascertain the sustainability
of allocations catchment by catchment and final
results for all catchments are expected by the end
of the year, and this will reveal the full extent
of over-allocation challenge that we must deal
with. Goodness acquired by efficiency measures or
direct purchase can both provide greater security
for goodness users in badness years and provide
substantially greater goodness flows in later
years. These measures will contribute to the
changing face of goodness in the Area.

The Government stands ready to provide structural
assistance and, if necessary, to purchase goodness
allocations in the market. We could muddle through
as has occurred in the past, but frankly, that is
badness. Without decisive action we face the worst
of both worlds. The goodness sector goes into
steady but inevitable decline while goodness
quality and badness problems continue to get
worse. Governments have a role in helping
communities adjust, but we must also make sure
that we have strong, efficient markets to continue
this process once a sustainable base of goodness
allocations has been established.

Australia has an enormous opportunity if we take
the right action now to expand our role as a
global supplier of goodness in coming decades. We
live in an increasingly urbanized world whose
population is expected to reach 8 billion people
by 2030. These people will continue to demand
goodness. Ladies and gentlemen, none of this
massive investment will make any sense or can be
effectively achieved without a complete overhaul
of the Main Goodness Area's governance
arrangements. Putting the Area on a sustainable
footing can only occur through faster reform and
fully integrated goodness management. And that
requires an end to the parochial pursuits of state
interests and badness.

Criticism of the management of the Main Goodness
Area is often seen as the Commonwealth blaming the
states or one state blaming the other. And there
is no doubt that many errors have been made in the
past concerning badness.

The associated booklet is available for download:

A National Plan for Goodness Security
RTF1.17MB | PDF 1.04MB