IT is always nice when a bit of pork is barrelled your way and the lobbing into our town of a new, well-staffed MDBA office is a nice bit of pork in anyone’s language.
It is debatable, though, as to what benefits this fortuitously timed initiative might bring.
Definitely some economic benefits, including the multiplier flow-ons of having of extra people and their families living here.
The supposed benefits touted for irrigators by Anne Webster, Steph Ryan and Peter Walsh won’t materialise, though.
Some staff might live here, but they won’t determine policy.
As ever, the fortunes of irrigators will still depend on rainfall and commodity prices, not on having a few MDBA staff shifted here (if in fact it happens).
Yes, the party machine has delivered her kudos and photo opportunities she could only dream about, but Dr Webster still hasn’t had anything substantive to say about water.
And warbling platitudes about the MDBA definitely doesn’t count.
Until she does have something substantive to say about water, electors are entitled to presume her position is the default Nationals position – “the fish kills were just the drought”, “the environment has got too much water already and anyway it won’t fit down the river”, “if the buyback cap is lifted it’s our green light to abandon the plan”. And so on.
Dr Webster is an appealing poster girl, but when she talks water it will be the self-interest of big cotton and dairy we hear.
Yes, voters can action the warm fuzzy feelings triggered by the MDBA move, but in the long term they might be better off remembering the preventable ongoing socio-economic catastrophe of the fish kills.