The results of public consultation about a proposal to re-open the historic Bird in Hand gold mine in Woodside are not surprising.
Opposition to the project has long been vocalised by many surrounding landowners who fear for the impact on the water table if the fractured rock aquifer is compromised, while also claiming that a mine in the middle of a pristine clean, green food bowl could deter tourists.
Predictably, these were key themes across the more than 250 submissions lodged with the State Government.
The numerous wineries and other commercial industries surrounding the proposed mine site provide the Government with a steady stream of tax revenue – one likely to continue for generations to come – and contribute to the State’s reputation as a world-class food and wine destination.
But even with an expected life of only five to 20 years, the mine would provide a very welcome sugar hit for the Government.
This leaves the Government in an unenviable situation.
With an election looming in the not-so-distance future and clear community opposition to the proposal, it will need to tread carefully as it weighs up the benefits and risks to make a decision in the best interest for all of SA.
Cold on burning
The Federal Government called for increased prescribed burning to eliminate bushfire fuel in the wake of this summer’s devastating fires.
The ramping up of this rhetoric was not surprising considering MPs were facing increasing pressure from people anxious about the current – and future – state of Australia’s climate.
However, what was lacking was the hard evidence that a significant increase was either achievable or beneficial.
The call has also been disputed or dismissed by a range of climate experts and fire services – including the CFS’s Region 1 Commander Peter Phillips.
Many have said it is a slow, cumbersome and inconsistent process that would do very little in the case of a bad fire.
Every option to decrease the fire danger risks across the country should be explored, but decisions on what measures to or not to implement should be made based on fact, not on opinions or belief.