Kevin Hogan pictured left
The early 2007 Snowy Mountains Energy Corporation commissioned desktop study and subsequent Senate investigation of Clarence River catchment water diversion proposals confirmed just how wedded Howard, Turnbull and Vail were to the idea of harvesting water from environmentally sensitive coastal rivers.
Rivers to which local communities were culturally attached and on which regional economies were sometimes highly dependent.
Losing government in late 2007 did not result in any serious reconsideration of this policy by the Coalition and, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott recently stated his intention to fully implement the former Howard Government's water policy if elected on 21 August.
Yet in spite of this a spokesperson for the present Nationals candidate in Page Kevin Hogan felt able to make this somewhat curious statement; "If there was river diversion in any of the schemes it would be strongly opposed by not just the Nationals, but the Coalition as a whole.” [The Daily Examiner, 10 August 2010] and Kevin himself said; "There is no plan by anyone within the Nationals or anyone within the Coalition to dam anywhere or anything on the Clarence River" [ABC News,11 August 2010].
It appears as if the first-time Nationals candidate is rather blindly following his leader, as Warren Truss rejects as "absolute nonsense" any thought of a Clarence dam in the future.Does Mr. Hogan have no understanding of Coalition history? Is he truly ignorant of continued calls within the Liberal and National parties for coastal river water diversion?
In 2008 the Nationals NSW State Conference resolved to "support greater efforts to reduce the amount of eastern water lost to the ocean and campaign for more in-depth investigations into finding ways to turn this water inland" [Tweed Daily News,16 June 2008] and Barnaby Joyce was still telling the media "You can't create water with money. That means you have to think about bringing it from somewhere else, like the Gulf or the Clarence" [The North Queensland Register,13 August 2008].
In 2009 Victorian Nationals MP Peter Crisp called for the Clarence River to be dammed and diverted [ABC News,25 May 2009].
Again in 2009, both National Party member Ian Causley [The Daily Examiner,27 May 2009] and Federal Liberal MP Sussan Ley [The Border Mail, 26 June 2009] wrote in support of diverting water inland with particular mention of a Clarence River dam by Causley.
While on 29 March this year Nationals Federal MP John Forrest described Bradfield and his water diversion schemes as "visionary" [www.nationals.org.au].
Perhaps like his leader, what Kevin Hogan really thinks is that Northern Rivers residents can be told any old version of the truth - that they are merely a flock of foolish sheep prime for fleecing.