June 2, 2006

Snowy Hydro sale scuttled by disgruntled backbenchers

This next post is dedicated to the memory of Clem Grothaus of Gippsland Victoria, who died a few years ago after a long life raising a family arriving in WW2 from the ruins of a defeated Germany to work on the massive Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. He and 100,000 other people like him from over thirty countries in 1949 who worked on constructing Australia's largest engineering formed the nucleus of Australia's contemporary multicultural society.

I am sure his surviving family, daughter Eva, Michael his son and Pauline his wife are pleased to know that all Australians will continue to be shareholders in his shared legacy. May we always.

Snowy schemers too clever by half.

The final twist in the Snowy Mountains saga has left the body twitching and turning in the wind.
When John Howard pulled out of the deal decision to support a sharemarket float of the hydro-electric scheme due to backbencher pressure, taking the Federal Governments 13 per cent share of the scheme with him, the 'done deal', the fiat that the Iemma Government had presented us with, collapsed like a house of card. The NSW Government immediately announced they were pulling their 58 per cent, and the Victorian Government soon after pulled their 29 per cent share. :::[SMH]

A) It is ours to begin with, thanks to people like Clem. B) How can Australia's competing interests for something as fundamental as water be sorted out by the sharemarket? I believe in a free market but what sort of blind faith in unbridled capitalism is this that potentially allows an overseas entity to make the decision about when our farmers get the water and when the hydro-electric scheme does based on strict profitability? Thank goodness the people powered by commonsense triumphed over one-eyed ideology.

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1 comment:

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