Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Drought: Government tinkering at edges

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Drought continues to ravage large parts of Australia. Over 90% of New South Wales is currently suffering, and the impacts are having devastating effects.

For example, the small town of Murrurundi ran out of water earlier this year. Their water is now trucked in and it’s not certain if it is safe to drink. But it isn’t just outback communities that are at risk. The Warragamba dam that supplies water to Sydney is below 50% capacity.

Scott Morrison claimed that the drought was one of the country’s most pressing issues, and indicated that extra funding would be allocated. But many of those in the worst affected communities say that the funding doesn’t go far enough.

The government is currently directing money in three different ways. Through a modest household allowance to farming families, by funding local councils, and by financing some “drought resilience plans” in rural areas.

But the government is doing very little to address the root cause of the problem, climate change. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, last summer was the hottest on record, with rainfall close to 30% below average. This is the lowest level since the early 1980s.

The government refuses to acknowledge the full extent of the impact of climate change because it clashes with the profit interests they represent. For example, if they admitted that droughts and climate change were connected, how could they justify supporting new coal mines?

For this government, profit comes before all else. Profit trumps action on climate change, and corporate tax cuts are prioritised ahead of much needed drought relief.

A real solution to the drought crisis would include public investment into renewable energy and a national plan for water use and conservation. Rather than letting the market rule, we need socialist solutions to ensure our land and resources are used in a sustainable way.

By Kai Perry


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