Saturday, February 5, 2011

Queensland floods: Australia's "Katrina moment?"

 "Since the 1980s, Australia has become the model of a social democracy where the cult of the “market” has diminished public services and infrastructure budgets and divided by wealth a society that once boasted the most equitable spread of personal income in the world".
John Pilger
As always, John Pilger, Australia's finest journalist offers a contrarian view on the Queensland floods in in this recent piece (here).

Pilger describes the floods as "Australia Katrina moment", in recognition that the devastation and destruction that resulted was compounded by policy decisions (and inaction) by successive Federal, State and local governments and Australia's corporate elite.

Pilger describes a political culture and political system subservient to business and corporate interests which stood by and allowed excessive land clearing on flood prone areas and environmental degradation, failed to invest in public infrastructure to protect flood prone communities and benefited from property speculation and property development which sold property and houses on flood prone land.

Pilger also describes how  pro-market and pro-business regulatory institutions allowed insurance companies to avoid an agreed definition of what constituted a flood, thereby allowing them to more easily refuse to honor claims of flood damage.

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