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October 1996 Issue
The Geographical Review
October 1996, 86 (4), pp. 573-587.
Environmental Mismanagement in
Australia's Far North
Xenophobic and beholden to a White Australia policy, the Western Australian government and the federal government financed a scheme of irrigated farming on the Ord River in Western Australia's far north. In building two dams on the Ord, the Western Australian Department of Agriculture was charged with protecting the Ord River watershed. Instead of responsible management, the department allowed tens of thousands of cattle and feral donkeys to roam free and increase soil erosion. Revenues from the sale of these cattle benefited the Western Australian government in Perth. Compounding this degradation of the north's resources and diversion of the region's income from cattle in the south is the extraction of mitigation money by the Western Australian government from the Argyle Diamond Mines, money that was invested poorly and without benefit to the north.
Dr. SYMANSKI is a professor of ecology and evoloutionary biology at the University of California, Irvine, California 92717.
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