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An Independent Queensland Regional & Rural 

On-Line Publication

(Cairns... Far North Queensland)


Thank you for visiting my on-line office.

I appreciate your interest in the issues that effect not only Queenslanders, but all Australians.

Please let me hear from you about your views on the issues that matter to your Family, your Community and your State.


Selwyn Johnston



One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference




Revised Bradfield Scheme


It is envisaged that the Revised Bradfield Scheme will…

Drought proof in excess of 15% of the surface area of Queensland;

The Office of Northern Development proposed the closure and capping of Artesian Bores along the Bradfield canals. Stations not on Bradfield irrigation canals will be able to use water thus saved for on-station fattening and drought proofing;

Two meatworks will be built to cater for increased beef production;

One paper pulp mill will be built to process timber farms;

The Pentland power station will ultimately be necessitated by an increased power demand with a 50% increase in the North Queensland population;

Four cotton gins could be built…two in the Central West and two in the Mid West;
Increase export earnings of $2,550 million pa;

Over 100,000 jobs will be created (36 jobs for every $1 million in increased earnings);

Protection of Ingham against the simultaneous upper and lower flooding, which would cause a projected loss of some 200 lives (SES estimate);

The building of the phosphate plants at Duchess and Mount Isa. Fertiliser demand will dramatically increase because of increased farming.


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The Battle for the Inland

UNEMPLOYMENT: Over 1,000,000 Australians cannot find a full-time job…until the 1980s, official unemployment averaged 3%… since the 1980s, it has averaged 9%. However, real unemployment hovers close to Depression levels of over 20%.

HOPELESSNESS: Australia has the highest youth suicide rate in the world… Australia has one of the lowest birth rates in the world.

DEBT: Australia’s bankruptcy rate is one of highest in the world… until the 1980s it averaged around 3,000 pa. … for the last five years it has averaged around 15,000.

BALANCE of PAYMENTS INCREASES DEBT:  Debt increases our annual interest payments: Every month, over $1,500 million goes out of the country more than comes into the country. If we had this money, every three months we could build a Bradfield Scheme, air condition every home in rural Australia, and dig a canal and fill Lake Eyre with sea water.

DEBT REPATRIATION: The interest paid on the Federal government debt in 1994 was $3,886 million… in the 1996 year, it was $9,388 million… 20% of our entire tax revenue goes to the banks for interest and repayments.


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Collapse of the Australian Economy

The facts:

93% of Australia’s exports come from mining and agriculture

Between 1988-1991 there was a 14% increase in agricultural income and a 25% increase in mining income. Between 1991-1994 there was only a 1.9% increase in agricultural income - and only a 3.6% increase in mining income

In 1986 there were 135,700 self-employed farmers in Australia. By 1993 there were only 101,700 self-employed farmers in Australia… 34,000 farmers have been broken and forced off the land in the past seven years

Cattle number in the late 70s hit 33.4 million heads… by 1993, cattle numbers had fallen to only 24.0 million head

Sheep number in the late 80s reached 174 million head… by 1993, sheep numbers had fallen to only 139 million head

Wheat production of around 25 million tonnes per annum fell to 13 million tonnes in 1994.

Whilst Interest Rates & De-regulation of Statutory Marketing are all contributing factors, drought has always been the Grim Reaper.


In sharp contrast, sugar and cotton in Queensland - both predominantly grown using IRRIGATION - have increased - sugar production from 3.2 million tonnes in 1986, to 4 million tonnes in 1993; and cotton production from 40 million kg's in 1986, to 104 million kg's in 1993.


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The National Water Distribution Scheme

In early 1995 a major breakthrough in the political fight to get Bradfield moving occurred when Hon. Ernie Bridge OAM, a long-serving minister in the WA Parliament and former Shadow Minister for the Northwest, met with the Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter MP, himself also a former senior Minister in the Queensland government, in Canberra to discuss the formation of a National Water Development Committee.

The purpose of the politically bipartisan committee that resulted from this meeting is to co-ordinate a National Water Distribution Scheme that will include the Bradfield Scheme, the Kimberley-Perth Pipeline, the Daly Scheme in the NT, and the Clarence River Diversion in northern NSW

These four schemes will produce $5,000 million per year in direct export earnings for Australia from an outlay of around $7,000 million… or $460 million per year for the 15 years it will take to build all the schemes.

But the real cost of this programme may be only two thirds to one half of the projected total cost because the number of people who would be employed to work on schemes would of course result in a corresponding fall in the number of people on unemployment benefits. By taking these people off unemployment benefits and giving them work, the real cost could be as low as only $260 million per year for 15 years…. The Federal government is now spending $15,000 million a year on dole payments… and achieving absolutely nothing in national income or in improving national infrastructure.

In 1994, the Federal government spent nearly $390 million on ‘one-off’ Foreign Affairs items:

$90 million on the new Foreign Affairs building in Canberra ($168 million final cost);

$20 million given to Yasser Arafat and his PLO;

$100 million donated to Vietnam;

$7 million given to the Irish Prime Minister

$42 million on the Laos Friendship Bridge;

$50 million approximately to the World Bank.

In addition:

The Arts got a special boost in 1994 of $252 million over four years

Whilst the Goss government in Queensland found nearly $2,000 million over four years to improve the railway system around Brisbane and for a ‘playground’ for city dwellers on the South Bank of the Brisbane River, not one cent has gone into water infra-structure in the State

16.5% of Australia’s workforce is being paid some form of benefit because they cannot find work

The Federal government is now spending over $15,000 million per year to pay these people not to work.

Better surely that we pay them to dig ditches and pour concrete to take water from where it is not needed and doing damage, to where it is so desperately needed… to where our nation’s great storehouse of risks… to where our cattle and sheep herds are dying… to where our Australian flora and fauna are dying at the hands of nature’s cruel side.



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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870