"Heritage rivers" is not everyone`s view
Thurs 9th August 2001

The recent calls by Professor Peter Cullen on making many  Inland river
systems such as Cooper Creek, heritage rivers is a case of the Intelligensia
forcing their theories on the landholders of Australia.
As  landholders in the Cooper Creek basin we resent the attitude of the
professor making sweeping judgements about water use on our behalf.
We have been in contact with the suppliers of organic beef to coles
supermarkets, and they want a year round supply of good quality organic beef
from properties in the Cooper Creek catchment which requires either grain
feeding or irrigation at the dry times of the year, and on properties such as
ours, irrigation makes a lot of sense.

Professor Cullen should realise there is more than one opinion about how to
use resources like water sustainably and unless there is a catchment wide
agreement on such things as making the Cooper Creek a Heritage river, then
twisting peoples arms will only harm his cause.

The process of consultation for catchment groups is currently very
frustrating. Most people cannot afford to take two or three days off without
pay and travel up to 1,000 km to go to meetings even  if they wanted to be on
a catchment committee. And then only a handful of people are allowed on these
committees and are expected to represent thousands of others and formulate
decisions that can impact substantially on lives  they do not know hundreds
of kms away.
We never know everything that gets said at these meetings or if the decisions
made are in fact unanimous or not and sometimes when we have contacted  
people on the committee, they do not know what got decided either because of
the way the meetings are run.

We would like to see everyone in all catchments given the opportunity to
participate via email, or video conferencing and get the chance to have their
say properly in catchment matters.
If we cannot, then are we really in a democracy?

Dennis Fahey "Keen Gea"  Torrens Creek, Qld ph 0747 417184
Leon Ashby "Barcoorah" Aramac Qld Ph 0887389313