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'Rain Man' probe
Jessica Harris
Friday, 15 September 2006

bbA COMPANY working to deliver rain to Wimmera farmers must reveal all details of its processes to Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Environmental company Aquiess has to supply the commission with its weather modification program documentation by Wednesday for an investigation.

The commission's request has forced Aquiess principal David Miles to put all `weather modification activities' on standby while he focuses on gathering the necwdeessary documentation, supporting files and archived materials.

He unsuccessfully asked the commission to give him until the end of the month `due to the urgent need for rain in the Wimmera'.

In a letter to Wimmera and central Victorian farmers involved in the project, Mr Miles vowed to return to work as soon as he had submitted relevant documentation.

"I regret that this has happened and wish the present government was more supportive of new-technology developments," he said. "Unfortunately this has jeopardised all weather modification activities on behalf of all clients this week."

Mr Miles has cited a Department of Primary Industries media release in late July which described his work as a `cruel hoax' as fuelling `or perhaps even triggering' the investigation.

"I hope those involved can appreciate the fact that they have forced me to focus on self preservation at the possible risk of a crucial rain event," he said.

Aquiess claims to be able to draw oceanic rains by breaking down pressure systems that block rain. It has been working with 29 Wimmera district farmers in the past few months to try to relieve dry conditions.

Senior department climate-risk researchers have slammed the company for promoting its rain-boosting resonance technology.

But federal Member for Mallee John Forrest has stood by Aquiess, accusing the department of being short-sighted and ignoring the interests of people in desperate need of rain. He has continued to call for government support for fully audited trials into

Aquiess's technology.

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