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In 1929 a Brisbane based Engineer, Dr JJ Bradfield, came up with a plan. A plan that could change Australia forever. The Bradfield Scheme. The man who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Underground Railway system and Brisbane's Storey Bridge came up with a plan to drought proof Australia forever. Yet it has never been implemented. Why?
It all came down to Lake Eyre.  How to fill this enormous reservoir with rain that falls in Northern Australia during the monsoonal summer. That huge Lake Eyre Catchment Basin area occupies 20% of Australia and is over 1 MILLION square kilometres.  John Bradfield proposed that we could use the water from the Northern Queensland rivers and channel it down to the Lake Eyre Catchment basin.
lake eyre
By 1938, John Bradfield and his team had checked out the area and his " Place of Flowers " proposal was meeting with criticism.
Fast forward to 1974. Bob Katter, then a member of the Joh Bjelke Peterson Government in Queensland, took up the gauntlet. It was proposed that this plan could increase the irrigation of crops and the land in areas grazing sheep and cattle. The then Premier of Queensland, Sir Joh, felt this was a project worth supporting. The Bjelke Peterson Government of Queensland sought support from the Federal Government, who gave that support. The later Hawke led Government withdrew that support and the Queensland Government decided to continue on its own, without Federal support.
The fall of the Bjelke Petersen Government in 1987 saw the end of the Bradfield Scheme.
Decades later, we have seen droughts and floods throughout our sunburnt county. Water that floods with devastating effects upon our communities and lives lost.  Droughts that cause farmers to kill their stock and themselves.
The latest chant is climate change. No. Australia has always been 

A land of sweeping plains, 
Of ragged mountain ranges, 
Of droughts and flooding rains. 
Nearly 100 years have passed and now all we do is worry about coal. Whilst people weep and wilt in summer with no electricity; whilst people die in floods in Toowoomba and Townsville and Brisbane; whilst our farmers kill their cattle and themselves for having let the team down; whilst all this happens, no one does a damn thing about implementing the Bradfield Scheme.
Fraser Anning, Senator in Queensland, said:

“The best drought relief we can give these people is water,”

“We don’t need to bring truckloads of hay up. If they’ve got water they’ll look after themselves.

“They can grow their crops and store enough bales of lucerne during the good times.

“Instead of having to watch all their cattle and sheep die every drought, we’ll be able to drought proof the country and that’ll save the country millions.”

The Bradfield Scheme would divert water from the Tully, the Herbert and the Burdekin Rivers, across the Great Dividing Range into the Flinders and then the Thomson River, eventually flowing to Lake Eyre.

Senator Anning described it as a “forever solution”, saying that while water was a state issue, it would be solved at a federal level.

So why are we not doing it? It is never too late.

What do you think?

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