The Border Watch : January 12th 2016
8 opinion EDiToRiAL THE State Government must listen to the united call coming from the South East’s seven councils for an independent inquiry into the cost of water planning and management in the region. Yesterday’s special meeting of the Limestone Coast Local Government Association at Robe saw elected representatives once again go into bat against proposed levy increases which would be brought about under the South East Natural Resources Management Board’s 2016/17-2018/19 draft business plan. It is these same elected individuals who will face anger and confusion should the higher charge be implemented on rate notices from the 2016/17 period. Much of the debate has been driven by government elected representatives and the region’s farmers and irrigators. However, should the draft business plan be adopted, we will all be made to pay. While a dollar figure increase has generated some debate, much of the opposition to any changes remains centred around how this region will benefit. There is a need for greater clarity about where money is being spent by the board to justify the costs to those forking out large sums of money for water licences and usage. Claims the increased cost is a combination of administrative expenses and a State Government cost recovery initiative do little to ease concern from those on the land. The preservation and use of water is critical to their livelihood and if they feel there is a gap in value for money, then there are some questions that need to be answered. A thorough independent inquiry should be the next course of action in this ongoing debacle to fill in the blanks. The board, led by presiding member Frank Brennan, has been proactive in seeking community feedback on the changes. That consultation period ends this week and the board, along with government, must listen to its stakeholders, and deliver an effective and efficient business plan for the future. LETTER To THE EDiToR Science does not support fracking ‘scare campaign’ I WRITE to respond to the unfounded assertions regarding unconventional gas and fracking. The title “Mounting evidence highlights need to prevent fracking” (The Border Watch, January 6) is nothing short of nonsense. In regard to aquifer contamination, over 2.5 million fracks have been carried out worldwide. ESTABLISHED 1861 Published by The Border Watch Pty Ltd ABN: 78 007 828 819 Registered office: 81 Commercial Street East, Mount Gambier, SA 5290 Postal address: Box 309, Mount Gambier, SA 5290 Telephone: 08 8724 1555; Fax: 08 8724 1551 Website: www.borderwatch.com.au SMS: 0427 135 114 Proud member of the There are no reports or evidence of hydraulic fractures from deep wells (a potential target in the South East) propagating upwards to intersect nearsurface aquifers. In fact, the Western Australia Upper House Committee just concluded a two-year investigation of fracking, and one of its findings was “the committee finds the likelihood of hydraulic fractures intersecting underground aquifers is negligible”. Robust and diligent regulation is essential and the South Australian regulator has been independently assessed as being among the top three regulators worldwide for deep shale and tight gas, both structures where fracking would most STREET SWEEpER The Border Watch Management: General Manager: Robin Reid Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: Jason Wallace Email: email@example.com Chief Sports Writer: Trevor Jackson Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sales Manager: Dennis Jackson Email: email@example.com Pre-Press Manager: Jamie Croker Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Administration Manager: Sonia Galwey Email: email@example.com Audited by Audit Bureau of Circulations The Border Watch Telephone 8724 1555, Fax 8724 1551 Responsibility for editorial comment is taken by Jason Wallace, 81 Commercial Street East, Mt Gambier The Border Watch proudly uses 100% recycled paper 683699 8 - The Border Watch, Tuesday, January 12, 2016 Have your say. The Border Watch values your opinion. If you have a view or wish to comment on any community issue we would like to hear from you. Please write to: The Editor P.O. Box 309 Mount Gambier SA 5290 Fax 8725 8431 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Preference will be given to letters less than 200 words. Longer letters will be subject to editor’s discretion. All letters must carry author’s full name and address and include a daytime telephone number for verification. The Border Watch reserves the right to edit letters for legal purposes and space restrictions Do you think big sporting events like the Commonwealth Bank Australian Country Cricket Championships and Mount Gambier Rodeo are good for the city? TOM ASHLEY Ballarat I have been to Mount Gambier three times and I think the sports events are good. I really like cricket and I hope to go and watch some during my holiday here. JANET BRODIE Penola Sporting events are fantastic for business and tourism in Mount Gambier and the wider region. CHRIS GILL Mount Gambier Of course they are fantastic because there are plenty of people around and they are supporting local businesses. likely be used. Further, the term and/or expressions to the effect “preserve our pristine aquifer system” are used as some justification for recent editorials and claims calling for a moratorium on fracking. As pointed out above, there is little likelihood of fractures (from more than 1.5km deep) impacting on the two near surface aquifers. The term “pristine” is emotive and incorrect as there is already contamination from pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers in some areas of the aquifer, so to paint the picture of an idyllic unspoilt pristine agricultural environment is incorrect. While Mark Jones appears to support Jay Weatherill’s objective of evidencebased regulation, his letter is devoid of any actual evidence - he simply refers to “mounting evidence” to, presumably, deliberately confuse and even mislead the reader. For example, why does he claim that fracking “will invariably result in the contamination of the South East’s aquifers” when it obviously has not done so in north-east South Australia? There have been innumerable scientific inquiries into unconventional gas and fracking without any undue findings and to sum these up is probably best encapsulated by the UK chief scientist Professor Sir Mark Walport, who described fracking as just another drilling technology and if it is engineered well, carried out well and is well regulated, then it is no more risky than any other drilling process. In the South East there have been more than 100 petroleum wells drilled, which have not affected the aquifers. The Norwood Resource (TNR) has a mission to compile and present facts and science-based evidence on the potential impact of oil and gas exploration and production on the environment to the wider community. Some of your editorials and headlines serves to perpetuate the many unsubstantiated scare stories which anti-fossil fuel advocates use to present alarmist messages to generate an emotional response from an unsuspecting public. Bruce Holland, The Norwood Resource ViSiT US onLinE borderwatch.com.au Break the school holidays boredom With the school year over and parents looking for low-cost ideas to keep children entertained, The Border Watch is highlighting just a few fun activities on the Mount Gambier 50 Things To Do Before You Turn 13 list. Do you recognise this activity? Answer in the next edition. Last edition – FIND YOUR HOUSE FROM ONE OF THE MANY LOOKOUTS Mount Gambier boasts a variety of stunning vantage points to look over the city. Take in the beauty of our community and its surrounding districts from several look-outs around the Crater Lakes precinct. Visit www.tbw.com.au/u13top50 for the full Mount Gambier 50 Things To Do Before You Turn 13 list.
January 8th 2016
January 13th 2016