Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is It April Fools' Day Or What?

I read in the paper that the Liberal Party is considering taxing the collection of rainwater. Yes, you heard right, rainwater. Australia, up until about a week ago when a rain-laden cloud band then deluged much of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales and brought about flooding, we were experiencing some of the driest weather on record. I believe that at my parents' place they experienced the driest year ever last year. Mum said in the last couple of days they've had 249 points of rain - two and a half inches.

Because of the big dry there is a push to make people install rainwater tanks. And rightly so. When I first arrived in the big smoke I couldn't believe that people didn't have their own rainwater tanks. I grew up in the country where we had a 5000 gallon (22000 litre) tank which went close to going dry on a couple of occasions but only overflowed a couple of times too. Town water wasn't much of an option. But in the city people depend upon it.

Recently the Western Australian government started offering rebates to householders who installed tanks. I believe that the dams around Perth are around the 30-35% capacity mark which doesn't bode well for a burgeoning population.

Back to the article. National Water Commmission chief Ken Matthews said: "Legally, all water in Australia is vested in governments." That means that water could be privatised. "If 1000 homes were to install 5000-ltre tanks with an annual yield of 57,000 litres, this is 57 million litres that would not have reached a river or groundwater system or - viewed another way - is taken from either the environment's entitlement or another productive use." - taken from The Sunday Times, 13/1/07.

So this organisation is saying that the environment is entitled to the water and people who collect rainwater are depriving the environment of this entitlement. What an absolute crock. If city people installed rainwater tanks you would find that most of the water would be used on the garden anyway and it would find its way back to the environment.

If the government privatises rainwater will they pay compensation for acid rain? Well, if the rainwater belongs to the government surely they are responsible for damage that that water does also. Would you pay more tax if you have a larger roof collecting rainwater that doesn't belong to you? Will we have to pay for sunshine collected by solar-powered devices next? I don't see much difference between rain and rays - we are both subjected to them and have no control over them. Tasmanians may pay higher rainwater taxes but lower sunshine taxes. Perhaps people getting sunburnt could be charged with stealing sunshine.

Maybe the Liberal party has had too long in office and is looking for a way out knowing that if the Labor party was to win office they would be voted out at the next Federal election because of their incompetence. Perhaps they want three or four years of people not hating them and just want to be loved again. It's all a plot for the Liberals to become popular again, methinks. Not that Labor would remove the taxes once they were in place. That would be silly.

No comments: