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Look what they done to my pump, Ma.

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The bastards put this on it.

Only once before in my life have I been angry enough to take up my ‘pointless pen’ and write a Letter to the Editor of a newspaper.
Way back in 1975 I attempted to bring to public attention the extent to which village smallholder coffee growers were being short-changed by the foreign-owned coffee millers in Papua New Guinea.
It did not make me a popular man amongst the perpetrators of this injustice.  Today I find myself again having to speak out, this time more selfishly about another sort of inequity.

I know not whether the following letter will make any sense to you given that the facts had to be compressed into fewer than 200 words.
Nor do I know or care much whether it will be published. We live too far out of town to get newspapers and just writing the letter has been a sufficiently therapeutic exercise for me.

Now I need to get on with my life. I refuse to allow the bureaucracy to spoil the dream which is GOF’s Paradise, but sometimes….just sometimes, even Australia gives me the screaming shits.

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Year of the Farmer.

My walkman radio told me the other day that 2012 was the Year of the Farmer. My mouth immediately opened so wide with astonishment that my vegetable-chipping hoe handle ended up half way down my gullet.

I for one will not be celebrating.

Thirty years ago I moved to this somewhat inhospitable rural smallholding in an attempt to live a self-sufficient lifestyle. We built a small dam to provide permanent water where previously there was none, and eventually made a modest living from vegetable growing.

This year, The Year of the Farmer, the Queensland Government via the Department of Environment and Resource Management installed a water meter on our little pump to raise revenue for itself.

Even though we only use a fraction of one megalitre each year, there are annual charges of several hundred dollars payable for licences, for maintenance of the Government meter and to pay someone to travel to read the meter which serves no purpose. No purpose at all, because even if I further reduce my water consumption the flat fees and bureaucratic charges will remain the same.

I am amenable to initiatives designed to ensure the sustainability of the planet’s water resources, but these fees have nothing to do with responsible water management or encouraging me to use less.
They are simply an inequitable tax on those who can least afford it.

Any country which actively discourages primary producers deserves the fate which will ultimately and inevitably befall it.

Year of the Farmer?  I think not.

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Let’s hope the meter reader does not expect our usual country hospitality and a cup of tea when he arrives.

About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

24 responses »

  1. Wow, they’re taxing you on water that they do not provide??? if they were pumping it to your house and maintained the pump and tubings and stuff… this would make some sort of sense… But as I understand it, you are not in the most arid part of the country so …Is your water consumption leading to local droughts? As long as you have trees on the grounds… wouldn’t that be more important for protecting the watershed???? I think you need to go into Politics… or just get Inga’s bunny to bite somebody in the knees or something.

    • Thank you Drude. What really annoys me is that if we lived in town with reticulated water, the charges for the amount of water we use would actually be LESS then what we’ll be charged for having our own water supply.
      There are 3 or 4 months of the year when the creek dries up…hence the need for the small dam to provide water over this period.
      Not one person from the responsible Government Department has ever visited this place…..we were just unfortunate enough to be ‘on their books’….so a contractor came and installed the meter.
      I’ve also contacted my political representatives, but will not be holding my breath waiting for anything to change. Inga’s savage bunny is a good idea…biting knees…or someplace slightly higher.

  2. Oh this is just so wrong. Turn inside-out screamingly wrong. And, unfortunately, your are probably right, there’s not a darn thing you can do about it.
    What a stupid race humans are sometimes. Frothing at the mouth stupid.

  3. the curtain raiser

    Did I read this right? Is this a tax on rain water?

    • Judy, your reading of this is as good as mine. I have no idea.
      Speaking with people in the know, there are apparently people in the Dept of Environment and Resource Management who indeed want to charge people who collect rainwater from the roof and then use it for some commercial purpose……like us growing pot plants for sale.
      Retirement and the old age pension is looking very attractive to me at the moment.

  4. Is there any way you could entice the feral hogs to take up residency in the area of the meter? Then it might be worth the money to watch the guy try to read the meter …

    Here, if we were on a rural water line, we’d pay an exorbitant amount for a water meter – so they could recoup the costs of running the line to our house – but then it would be ours and no further fees (except for water actually used) would be collected. Since we are not on a rural line and live in a “city” with its own water supply, the meter was free and we only pay for water used. If we were in your situation – living subsiding on rain water (more likely well water from the ground here) we would pay for the well, the pump, the lines … and never pay a damned cent for water again. Heck, they’ll even do a “purity” test of it every year for free.

    Yeah … you need to move in with Inga and let her worry about all that bureaucratic nonsense.

    • Thank you for adding to my perspective with details of how it all works in your part of the world GOM. The installer said we would pay the cost of the meter installation, then it would just be a matter of paying for the water used after that. In truth it will be a twice-per-year bill including fees for meter maintenance, reading, licences PLUS water used….for at least 25 years.
      I’ll see what results from the political shit I’m kicking up, then if nothing happens I’ll probably just disconnect the meter.

  5. There have been attempts here in the US to find some way to tax the water that people collect on their roofs and store in 50-gallon drums to water their vegetable gardens.

    Next they’ll try to tax the very AIR we breathe!
    “It’s out there, EVERYBODY’S breathing it, and it’s FREE! Gentlemen, we have to put a stop to this.”

    BTW, so sorry to hear about your pup.

    • Now that’s taking it to ridiculously stupid extremes… on 50 gallon drums of rain water.
      Thanks for thinking about Nelson Kim….we now have a rather large pup bring joy (and mass destruction) into our lives. 🙂

      • Oooh a new pup???? I think we need photographic evidence! I really do! or at least recounts of the mass destruction and joy.

        • A story is in the pipeline Drude….we just want to make sure the dog doesn’t disappear never to be seen again……it’s a specially bred pig-tracking dog and once it gets the scent of any wild animal it just takes off into the jungle, returning in it’s own good time. We have a lot of training to do to make it follow our commands.

  6. Jesus F******** Christ. I hope a shark follows these “decision makers” and takes a chunk out of their bare behinds. It’s as though anything goes these days. Accountability is nearly dead. Be proud of that letter, GOF. I have faith that it will be seen and have an impact.

    Kimmers is right; the same shit is happening here. The idea is that (I’m not even kidding) the towns “own” the rain water. Did you hear that some rich woman purchased the sun? Nope, sorry to say I’m not joking about that either. Someone suggested a class-action lawsuit against her for the effects of global warming.

    That and Monsanto is suing farmers for using seeds. It’s time we fight back. I agree with GOM. Let’s start by training the feral hogs.

    • “Jesus F******** Christ” Thank you Amelie…that sums up my feelings exactly, and your support means a lot to me.
      They are charging me more to pump one megalitre of water from my own dam than I would have to pay if I was connected to a town reticulated water supply. Dumb!

      I think I also read that someone wants to patent the human genome (or parts of it).
      Sometimes I despair at the future of mankind with all this stupidity going on.
      I hope your generation brings a little more common sense into the world.

      Had to laugh at your story of sueing the ‘owner’ of the sun. Let all the rich people and lawyers sort it out between themselves … and I have more important things to do in life. 🙂

  7. You must be taking water from Government clouds you thieving bastard!!

    A little while back the Vic government asked folk with rainwater tanks to register so they could give us some incentives. Thankfully the folk round here remember what happens when the government knows what you are doing and the request was mostly ignored.

    If the bastards aren’t providing the service then its a bit rude to charge you for the lack of service.

    Good luck and pleased to hear you have a new friend. I’m still battling the CFO to get my replacement. 😦

    • The Qld Govt has also had a program of subsidised water tanks going for a few years so they already have the names and addresses of everybody who got one.

      If it was a charge based on actual water usage I would be happy, because it would be negligible…..but to pay some bastard $100 every time he comes to read the meter…sorry, my tolerance doesn’t extend that far.

      • You would think common sense would kick in but as Rickie Benaud once commented “Common sense isn’t that common.”

  8. Can you not remove their meter and simply refuse to pay as you have nothing to do with their system and there’s no earthly reason you should be charged for an entity that they aren’t providing a service for and don’t own.

    • I’m still considering all these options Vicola, but the law is on their side and I’d probably end up being hauled off to court and end up having to pay all those expenses too. I’m still working on political intervention, but sometimes one just has to suck up shit then get on with life.

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