Miranda Devine

The Sydney Morning Herald

Carr’s trick: turn water into whine

As the debate over water heats up in NSW, “Dubai Bob,” as Bob Carr
is becoming known, has had a “road to Damascus conversion” on
desalination, says Miranda Devine. The globe-trotting premier seems to
have come around to such schemes, heralded by his ill-received
announcement of a desalination plant in Kurnell. It just goes to show
how desperate he is to stave off the “inevitability” of planning
another dam for Sydney, says Devine. According to Carr’s “water tsar,”
Utilities Minister Frank Sartor, the desalination plant could boost the
falling dam levels with fresh water within three years. It’s what he
calls a “contingency plan.” But before we spend $2 billion in Kurnell,
Carr might want to heed the lessons of Florida, where bugs at the
Apollo Beach desalination plant will cost as much as $50 million to
fix. Carr’s Kurnell surprise smells like “another gimmick,” and it
looks like one too, with government sources admitting there’s only a
30-50% chance it will be built at all.
Crikey Says: Water policy is beginning to become the topic de jour, and it will be a
reckless politician – and columnist – who doesn’t have a firm view
about it.


Kenneth Davidson

The Age

The IR facts behind the PM’s ‘truth’

Is opposition to the government’s IR changes simply opposition to
the unknown? So claimed John Howard at the Sydney Institute earlier
this week, adding that once the legislation was in place, opposition
would evaporate as workers saw how much better off they would be.
Howard cited statistics from New Zealand labour market reform to prove
his point. But Kenneth Davidson says that if Howard were truly
interested in what was happening in New Zealand he would find that “the
economic impact of the NZ reforms was plummeting productivity as bosses
switched from capital-intensive methods of production to cheaper labour
and a growing skills deficit as the incentive for employers to invest
in a disposable labour force diminished.” However successive industry
ministers have refused requests to survey employer attitudes to the
existing labour market structure or how government changes might affect
their business. Indeed it seems “there has been no proper
employer survey since 1995,” says Davidson, “because it is not certain
that the results would back Howard’s pre-determined ‘reforms’.”
Crikey Says: The debate over the impending IR changes has taken on features of a
tennis match, except that in this case it will be decided by the
spectators rather than the players.


Drivel Tries hard Worth reading Quality analysis Outstanding journalism

Peter Fray

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