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The Forum > Article Comments > Thou shalt not build dams - ever! > Comments

Thou shalt not build dams - ever! : Comments

By Barry York, published 17/1/2011

The left has been infected by a Green religion which is alien to it so that it opposes progress and the tools of progress.

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Mr York, I think if you had a close look at the Traveston issue you will find it was more to do with NIMBY syndrome than anything. Most of these people who made the most noise have no problems with weirs or dams on their properties.
The endangered species are still as endangered today as on the 11 Nov 2009 when Mr Garrett made his decision.
Some of the so called NO DAM crew are calling for the river to be de-snagged etc so they can canoe on it, these snags are the habitat of the cod etc. The same group had no problem with the endangered turtle nests being trampled as they believed they were in good numbers so there was not a problem. So how many can we trample before it is a problem?
How do I know this? I have been at the meetings where these issues have been raised.
Have a look at who they vote for in this electorate, LNP, state and Federal, and what are they proposing? YES, a dam for the Mary Valley but not at Traveston.(Barnaby Joyce 23 Dec 2010)
Posted by MR Mulder, Monday, 17 January 2011 7:29:57 AM
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At the heart of serious opposition to dams are the people expected to pack up and move to make room for it. It's a true grass roots phenomena - much more that than some growing green 'infection'.

Given the vast loss of natural habitat and species already sacrificed to the needs of progress, it's no surprise that a vocal section of the community wants things done better. It isn't about going backwards and preventing infrastructure being built out of misguided ideology - even if there are some vocal elements like that - but about better use of our productive capital and our resources without simply exploiting it all until it's gone. Focus on the extreme voices is a way to avoid focus on the underlying issues that no-one except the Greens appear willing or able to address.

Some extreme opposition to dams isn't well thought out but some big infrastructure isn't that well thought out and is, itself, based on selling simplistic and exaggerated notions of what such infrastructure is capable of delivering. It's not green religion at work, just recognition of the limits of our environment and planet. And the costs and limits of brute force infrastructure to fix things.

Mainstream politics has failed us on some crucial issues like resource management, sustainability, conservation of shrinking natural ecosystems - which do provide economic services - and growing climate change. Until it gets serious about them the Greens will continue to grow in popularity amongst people who are not extremists, not ideologues, who are not opposed to progress but in fact demand progress. These are people who are reasonably well informed and have legitimate concerns and are being let down by mainstream politics that is underscored by it's own inappropriate quasi-religious ideologies that devotes more to attacking the messengers than on developing appropriate solutions.
Posted by Ken Fabos, Monday, 17 January 2011 8:53:14 AM
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Why build dams at all, what we shouldn't be doing is building towns on flood plains. These areas a rich agricultural lands because of the periodic floods. Just because sometimes it is a long time between floods so people seem to believe that if they build on a flood plain then there should no longer be allowed to flood.
There is plently of room in Australia why not build where you will not get flooded?
You guys on the east coast get enough rain that you donít need lot of damís you just need to use your water better, smarter
Posted by Kenny, Monday, 17 January 2011 9:30:45 AM
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@ Ken Fabos

You want the middle road but the problem is that The Greens and Bob Brown do fit the extreme category that you are rejecting. Bob Brown in today's news has blamed the coal industry for the floods thus promoting a simplistic interpretation of causes which cannot be proven.
Posted by billkerr, Monday, 17 January 2011 10:26:59 AM
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York's assertions that Stalinist Russia and Maoist China were left wing revolutionary governments in power is completely divorced from Marxism. Marx was about democracy and the working class itself, as the vast majority and the producer of society's wealth, taking power and exercising it through its own institutions.

These state capitalist dictatorships that York talks about destroyed the lives of hundreds of millions in the name of capital accumulation, using the rhetoric of 'socialism', not for some mythical improvement of living standards. York is driven by this dam and be damned stalinism, the gravedigger of the revolution.

It is telling that nowhere in his article does York talk about demcoracy and planning, let alone democratic planning. Such an approach - socialism from below rather than the top down dictatorial approach at the expense of the working class he favours - would see those who make the wealth of society - workers - deciding on dams, flood mitigation, addressing climate change and its effects, indeed on all productive and other matters - all to satisfy human need rather than make a profit either for the free marketeer or the apparatchik.

How ironic then that York nods in Marx's direction when he cites the Communist manifesto and Marx's comments about the monumental forces capital has unleashed. Too true, but that is the same manifesto that tells us that the working class can harness these forces for the good of humanity and abolish the profit system. Funny how York doesn't mention that in his panegyric to that profit system, reflecting his state capitalist view of the world.
Posted by Passy, Monday, 17 January 2011 10:45:08 AM
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Good and thoughtful piece
Dams are an important part of our infrastructure and are key to our standard of living.With the growth in population in the southeastand the increasing standard of living more water will be needed. The lower the cost the better for all!
Dam water is far more cost effective than any other alternative and it is only a matter of time before more will be needed. This flood event puts that into perspective again. Do we can we raise the level of the current dams? Could they store more water?
As far as the Traveston dam was concerned It was to be down stream of Gympie so would not have helped. It was small and shallow by the areas standards so it was a marginal proposal, from the start and at the expense of valuable dairy land and some unique animals.So It is not supprising it was never build. Gympie and Maryborough have had much worse floods with the 1890's flood at 25.5 metres and 12 meters respectively and then the 1955,1967 & 1974. Both town centres and Brisbane's as well were not build in the right places ( as far as floods are concerned) but everybody can be wise after the event. Practical flood pervention measures ( Moving, levies and higher dam walls) need to be considered down the track! Lets not let this agenda be stolen by the climate change religion let the proposals stand or fall on their own
Posted by Michael S, Monday, 17 January 2011 10:49:19 AM
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