Henry spent significant hours on Sunday pumping (and bucketing) water from a dam to water 40 odd young trees planted several weeks ago. So far all of them are hanging in there (even the one run over by Henry’s tractor) but if it doesn’t rain soon many will have shrivelled up and died.

How quickly perceptions can turn. A few short weeks ago the gummint was ridiculing Al Gore’s movie, now it is mobilising to help farmers, hit twice by the worst drought in a century and global warming.

Lots of half-sensible ideas are floating (ahem!) about, like using water more efficiently, repairing neglected infrastructure and saving the rivers and the cities by reducing water used in the bush on mindless frolics like growing cotton and rice in arid parts of this wide brown land. Oh, and allowing the development of a sensible market in water.

The one really silly idea is to get the Reserve Bank to leave interest rates on hold until it rains properly. Glenn Stevens will see this as a chance to show he is a real central banker – a complete b-stard – by raising rates on the day after the Melbourne Cup is won and lost. Any other outcome would risk leaving the Australian economy as dry and overheated as its inland farming areas.

Read more at Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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