|3 Jun 2006 @ 10:03|
My faith in the voice of the people has been restored this week with a landmark victory that led to the reversal of a decision that had been made by two of our State Governments and our Federal Government to sell off one of our most significant national assets, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme.
Snowy Hydro is to remain in public hands after a community-inspired back flip by Prime Minister John Howard. Within an hour of Prime Minister Howard announcing yesterday that the Commonwealth would withdraw its 13 per cent stake of Snowy Hydro from sale, the NSW and Victorian governments did the same with their larger shares.
The turnaround is the result of unprecedented community anger at the proposed $3billion sale. This decision just goes to show that if people stick together and speak out they can bring about change.
The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme is an engineering marvel and one of the seven listed engineering wonders of the modern era. Its construction marked a major turning point in Australia's multicultural history. It was Ben Chifley in 1949 as the then Australia Prime Minister, who told the people of Australia, "The Snowy Mountains scheme, the greatest single project in our history, is a plan for the whole nation, belonging to no one state”. Over 100,000 workers from 30 countries toiled for 25 years to build the Snowy Hydro-electric scheme. More than 130 people died during the construction.
While it generates only 3 per cent of the country's power, Snowy Hydro supplies about 2,100 giga litres of water to the Murray Darling Basin, supplying inland irrigators along the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers. So this decision also had a noteworthy impact in retaining one of our major water supply authorities in the hands of the people and not private enterprise.
PEOPLE POWER long may it reign More >