The Dirt on Cubbie Station
Transcribed and assembled from a sequence of tweets, a Herculean labor, but from a source close to the action, most interesting -- --
Cubbie Station, the Darling River, and Barnaby Joyce, Ronni Salt, MsVeruca
Back home at the farm & an uncle calls in & regales us with a yarn about Cubbie Station.
Cubbie Station is the largest private water holder in the Southern hemisphere & is owned by a Chinese & Japanese consortium. It can suck up to 500,000 megalitres of water from the Darling Riverine plains, starving the rivers, towns & floodplains downstream of water. (A megalitre is 1 million litres of water) To emphasise, Cubbie Station’s water allocation can leech the equivalent of an entire Sydney Harbour out of Australia’s waterways yearly.
Anywhoo - Uncle used to sit on several federal environmental committees back in the 90s & 2000s. He was familiar with David Kemp & met John Howard as well as a new senator from Queensland who always had (and I quote) "an aggressive interest in Cubbie Station."
Back in 2002-05 however Cubbie Station wasn’t doing too well & was quietly on the market. The asking price was about $300 million & uncle says his fed govt committee contacted David Kemp & the Howard govt in 2004 urging them to purchase the property. This committee was made up of scientists, academics, farmers & Indigenous reps & they all warned the federal govt that Cubbie Station’s massive water holdings were a disaster waiting to happen. The fed govt had the opportunity to put all those millions of litres of water back. Uncle: "It was environmental vandalism of a kind I’ve never seen before & the Queenslanders were the biggest vandals.”
So the Howard Govt sought advice from the Nationals. The Nationals sought advice in particular from a young gun candidate who lived in the area that the Nationals were putting up in the 2004 election. The new guy had a large accounting practice in the Cubbie Station area & his clients also included many of the irrigators sucking the MurrayDarling system dry. Uncle says if you look back at records, you will see back then that Cubbie Group Ltd donated thousands & thousands of dollars to this young gun’s senate election campaign. I quote, “His senate campaign was funded in large part by Cubbie Station.”
According to uncle, the young gun was good friends with many in The Sinkhole – the nickname given to the powerful irrigators and National party supporters of that area who take all the water meant for the rivers, floodplains & towns along the Darling. One of the young gun’s prominent & vocal supporters in his race for the senate was a man named John Grabbe, who was also coincidentally the Managing Director of -
And the young gun senator from Queensland’s name?
Reuters | 2 August 2019
Macquarie snaps up 49% of Australia's massive Cubbie Station from China's Ruyi
By Paulina Duran and Byron Kaye
SYDNEY, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Australia’s Macquarie Group has purchased a 49% stake in cotton farm Cubbie Station from a consortium led by Chinese conglomerate Shandong Ruyi for an undisclosed sum, the parties said in a joint statement on Friday.