It's the Tony Abbott Show!

 
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
"No new dams" is purely a political decision that could be reversed.  As I said earlier there are conservation measures that were not explored, in particular storm water harvesting.  Most of Melbourne's rainwater continues to wash out to sea... why?  Why not consider minor council-run storages for things like parks and gardens instead of watering those areas from an expensive desal plant?  Why wasn't that even considered?  Why go for the most expensive and energy-intensive option as a first line of defence?  Even with our huge population growth and 'houses growing like weeds' I'm sure we could have managed the next drought period with a couple of smaller dams and more intensive rainwater capture programs.

Telling Melbourne residents "don't worry about it, you can hose your driveway down again, we've got the world's biggest desal plant" is not a good conservation message.  As a country resident, I'm sure you can appreciate the need to conserve water even during our relatively wet years as the last few have been; to me the desal plant reinforced the bad message that "Melbourne people don't have to worry about drought, we've spent our way out of that problem".
don_dunstan
No, 'no new dams' is a physical consideration. Knowing a couple of people in the business, and over the odd beer, I was told there are virtually no other catchments for domestic water in Victoria that can be exploited, without causing other apparently unacceptable  issues.

And if you think the Desal Plant was expensive, try costing the idea of collecting storm water and re-processing it.

Mind you, the Desal Plant was made vastly more expensive because of the sweetheart deals the Labor government cut with the unions to get it built.

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  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
"No new dams" is purely a political decision that could be reversed.  As I said earlier there are conservation measures that were not explored, in particular storm water harvesting.
don_dunstan

No new dams is certainly not a political decision.  It's all very well to build a dam, but you need a catchment area first, and a good-sized perennial stream second. There is nowhere suitable close enough to Melbourne to do this without impinging upon catchments for existing rural dams.
Harvesting storm water is a lovely idea - how are you going to catch it, where are you going to put the catch initially, and where will you ultimately store it? Your initial holding reservoir will need to be about the size of the MCG to make the idea practicable, and then equipped with some decent pumps, and pipelines which will have to go through miles of suburbia to connect with the existing supply infrastructure. Your holding reservoir will also need to be below ground level given that storm water isn't going to flow uphill. Any ideas where?
  jayrail Assistant Commissioner

Location: te Anau Southern Alps NZ
And isn't it better - not seeing rehearsed media grabs just to get their faces on the TV news every night.

To me, not seeing a politician means s/he is actually doing something instead of talking about it.

How true,sport on the front pages.
Donald
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Both Andrew Bolt and Kenneth Davidson were against the Desal plant and had alternative ideas they claim weren't looked at.  If you have two people from opposite ends of the spectrum both arguing against it that says to me that maybe there's some substance in what they were saying.  At the end of the day - it's not switched on.  Our catchments are at 79 percent.  Maybe its a good insurance policy but over a billion a year is a really, really pricey insurance policy.

I was more interested in discussing the two Federal back-flips that have happened in the last few weeks.

One is Ian McFarlane telling Holden that the Liberals are now prepared to come to the table with more money to keep GM going in Australia.  To be honest I was expecting this one; everyone changes their minds about the car industry for some reason.  I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Holden myself; I've had two Commodores and they were both really great cars.

The other one one that I found really surprising was Barnaby Joyce saying that foreign corporates buying up Aussie farms en mass was suddenly okay with him. Hmm...
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
One is Ian McFarlane telling Holden that the Liberals are now prepared to come to the table with more money to keep GM going in Australia.  To be honest I was expecting this one; everyone changes their minds about the car industry for some reason.  I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Holden myself; I've had two Commodores and they were both really great cars.
don_dunstan
I agree that industry such as car manufacturing needs to be kept in the country. Subsidising the manufacturer however is not the way to go about it. I'm certain any manufacturer can soak up as much money as the government wish to give them, but it will simply add to the cost of production long term and push the price of the local product up. Any subsidies should go to the purchasers of locally manufactured goods to make them more attractive and thus stimulate the manufacture of goods locally. This could at least partially be offset by increasing the price of competing imports, by some sort of levy or tax.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
Dirty Ballast: Solar systems degrade with time though don't they - what sort of life-span does the average one have I wonder before it's shafted and the panels need replacing?  Wind-farms and solar capacity are also quite unreliable and we now have the problem of escalating natural gas prices due to over-selling of the resource to overseas interests.  I dunno, I just think that a new base-load brown coal station would be a good way to future proof and bring down these stupidly high tariffs but perhaps it was also that thinking that bought us a huge desal plant that turned out to be completely superfluous.
don_dunstan
The standard guarantee from most manufacturers is that solar panels will still produce 80% of their rated performance after 25 years...totally devoid of maintenance and operational costs. Trust me, a new base load coal fired power station is not needed in the short or medium term, especially considering that electricity demand from retailers is FALLING.

The desal plant is no more superfluous than the opening of the Glen Waverley railway line in 1930, constructed through miles and miles of empty paddocks...I invite you to stand up now and declare that that was a waste of time and money! Wink
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The desal plant is no more superfluous than the opening of the Glen Waverley railway line in 1930, constructed through miles and miles of empty paddocks...I invite you to stand up now and declare that that was a waste of time and money! Wink
DirtyBallast
You can't compare apples with oranges - especially not with water storages back to historical norms.

Even the engineers admit it was built way too big for our local needs and the ongoing cost to Melbourne water users is astronomical at about $2 million a day for it to sit idle.  Unlike the Glen Waverley line, which was useful to at least some people from day one, who is the desal plant useful to right at this minute?  What if it doesn't get turned on for another ten, fifteen years? Ever?

Sorry but I really think the money coming out of my (and every other Melbourne residents) pockets to pay for it could have been better used elsewhere.  Two words that could have saved us billions:  Ongoing conservation.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
I agree that industry such as car manufacturing needs to be kept in the country. Subsidising the manufacturer however is not the way to go about it. I'm certain any manufacturer can soak up as much money as the government wish to give them, but it will simply add to the cost of production long term and push the price of the local product up. Any subsidies should go to the purchasers of locally manufactured goods to make them more attractive and thus stimulate the manufacture of goods locally. This could at least partially be offset by increasing the price of competing imports, by some sort of levy or tax.
Graham4405
Isn't that how we used to do it?

I'm with you in that I like the products but I'm not sure if throwing more money at them is going to make any difference to the long-term outcome.  There are also very few jobs left in the car industry compared to 2 decades ago when the tariff reductions began to bite.  You have to ask yourself if it's worth throwing more money into keeping those jobs in Australia or just resigning ourselves to the fact that we don't have economy of scale here.

As with the desal plant, there's different opinions and its complicated - hard to know what the right answer is.  We just have to trust that the pollies somehow get it right.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
You can't compare apples with oranges - especially not with water storages back to historical norms.

Even the engineers admit it was built way too big for our local needs and the ongoing cost to Melbourne water users is astronomical at about $2 million a day for it to sit idle.  Unlike the Glen Waverley line, which was useful to at least some people from day one, who is the desal plant useful to right at this minute?  What if it doesn't get turned on for another ten, fifteen years? Ever?

Sorry but I really think the money coming out of my (and every other Melbourne residents) pockets to pay for it could have been better used elsewhere.  Two words that could have saved us billions:  Ongoing conservation.
don_dunstan
But I notice that you have not even acknowledged that the Desal Plant was built by the previous Labor government, under an extremely generous PPP that we will be repaying for many years, nor the outrageous wastage on the project due to union rorting, again agreed to by the previous Labor government.

You would be the is to throw this up if it had been a Liberal project.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
You can't compare apples with oranges - especially not with water storages back to historical norms.
Even the engineers admit it was built way too big for our local needs  . . .
"don_dunstan"

So was the Sydney Harbour Bridge. . . look at it now.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
You would be the is to throw this up if it had been a Liberal project.
TheBlacksmith
What difference does it make what brand of government locks us into a white elephant?  Bob Carr, Anna Bligh, Steve Bracks, and now Barry O'Farrell and Denis Napthine.  They all do it.  Why does it matter if they're Liberal or Labor?

So was the Sydney Harbour Bridge. . . look at it now.
Valvegear
The Westgate would have been a better local comparison.  And it got used from day one.  The desal plant might never be used.  I suppose we're all set for Melbourne to be a city of 8 million people though... won't that be fun.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
I disagree. The demand for electric power is increasing all the time and we are not building new power stations, so home generation is a way to mitigate that demand and reward the home owner for their investment. ...
TheBlacksmith


Big problem - the sun isn't controlled by oligopolies or cartels.

It's also easier to keep flogging old technologies. Main thing is there's money to be made - just keep hocking up the price Exclamation
Not to mention cushy board positions for ex-pollies Wink
  wurx Lithgovian Ambassador-at-Large

Location: The mystical lost principality of Daptovia
What country were you in at the time?  It certainly got mileage in the Melbourne media.
Valvegear
Little or nothing in NSW....
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
 The desal plant might never be used.  I suppose we're all set for Melbourne to be a city of 8 million people though... won't that be fun.
don_dunstan
Will happen sooner than you think.

And, with a desal plant once thought of as superfluous, Melbourne will be THE place to do business.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
And, with a desal plant once thought of as superfluous, Melbourne will be THE place to do business.
"DirtyBallast"
'THE place to do business'? Why? Every other major capital city has a desal plant too you know... AND MOST OF THEM are not the veritable smeg that Melbourne is!
  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
Harvesting storm water is a lovely idea - how are you going to catch it, where are you going to put the catch initially, and where will you ultimately store it? Your initial holding reservoir will need to be about the size of the MCG to make the idea practicable, and then equipped with some decent pumps, and pipelines which will have to go through miles of suburbia to connect with the existing supply infrastructure. Your holding reservoir will also need to be below ground level given that storm water isn't going to flow uphill. Any ideas where?
Valvegear
Runoff. Adelaide alone can currently capture about 15GL/annum, with potential for about 60GL/annum with improvements in capture infrastructure. 2010 investigations showed about $700m investment was needed to capture and store 60GL/annum. Total runoff is around 110GL/annum. SA uses about 200GL/annum of SA Water supplied potable water. Potential for capture would reduce to 50GL/annum by 2050 based on current indications of urban consolidation and reduced rainfall scenarios/changing rainfall patterns.

Underground is the place to store the water. But this obviously differs from city to city - most would have aquifers, but if they're fractured/bedrock aquifers, no good for large scale aquifer storage and recharge. Adelaide can capture 60GL/annum and store most of it underground based on current aquifer knowledge and current extraction rates, plus some surface storage.

You're right though - there is further infrastructure associated with supplying the water to where it is demanded. Currently there isn't much in the way of third party access to potable water distribution networks and infrastructure, but this will soon change in SA at least.

Water quality can be an issue when it comes to harvested water (depending on its intended use) - which is why it needs to be considered in the mix of water options available to a city. You don't want to be watering large gardens/parks/ovals with potable water when bore water, offset by harvested stormwater recharge, is sufficient (and far cheaper).

Goyder Institute is currently researching what the optimal mix for Adelaide will look like in to the future while considering the trade offs associated - economic, social, environmental, etc and what the best value use for each source of water is (e.g. watering your hydrangeas with desal water is probably not best value use!). Cities will need to find a balance between using surface water, groundwater, desal water, storwmwater, roof/rainwater, recycled water and in SA, Murray River water.
  Barrington Womble Photo Nazi

Location: Banned
'THE place to do business'? Why? Every other major capital city has a desal plant too you know... AND MOST OF THEM are not the veritable smeg that Melbourne is!
Aaron
Aaron, there is no need to take the micky out of somebody's writing style. Stick to the facts, and answer the question without the obvious flamebait. Nobody likes a Smart Alec, and it only makes you look the right prat. Not the other way round, which I am sure is your intention.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
^ Thanks.

Aaron, Melbourne will be able to cope with a population of 8 million in the future, and the industries that will drive its economy to sustain it, by keeping it watered to a level that the other capitals can't.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Water quality can be an issue when it comes to harvested water (depending on its intended use) - which is why it needs to be considered in the mix of water options available to a city. You don't want to be watering large gardens/parks/ovals with potable water when bore water, offset by harvested stormwater recharge, is sufficient (and far cheaper).
simont141
Exactly, you don't need to water parks, gardens and flush toilets with expensive potable water.  Sure, storage is an issue but it's not insurmountable when you are just watering gardens with it.

Not to mention cushy board positions for ex-pollies...
cootanee
That's what the union controlled super funds are for (with ex-Labor politicians) and merchant banks, think-tanks and defence contractors (for the Liberals).

Meanwhile, back on the original topic, I know that Tony's strategy was to remove the government from the 24-hour media cycle but honestly, with the lack of any sort of information or news you'd almost think that we don't have a government any longer... what happened to all these emergencies we were told about before the election?  Did they just evaporate?  Wasn't parliament going to be recalled immediately to address all these terrible problems?  There's been an eerie silence since the election.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
^ Thanks.

Aaron, Melbourne will be able to cope with a population of 8 million in the future, and the industries that will drive its economy to sustain it, by keeping it watered to a level that the other capitals can't.
"DirtyBallast"
Come on now, that is simply not true. The Victorian DPCD's own numbers for VIF predict Melbourne's population only making it to 8 million in 2046. Building such a large desal plant now for that population is ... somewhat foolish. In thirty years your current plant will be somewhat life expired.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Wasn't parliament going to be recalled immediately to address all these terrible problems?  There's been an eerie silence since the election.
"don_dunstan"
Sometimes it helps if you let the AEC complete counting before you recall Parliament...
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Sometimes it helps if you let the AEC complete counting before you recall Parliament...
Aaron
What, for one lower house seat?
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Yup, everyone gets to be represented.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I think there is still senate counting going on too, but that doesn't matter just now.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
What, for one lower house seat?
"don_dunstan"


As Mr McEnroe might have said, "You cannot be serious."

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