NSW Parliament votes against the government to cut all red and green tape on floodplain harvesting at the expense of communities
The NSW Legislative Council moved on Thursday 6 May, to disallow the government’s new regulations to enable the management, measurement and accounting of floodplain harvesting in NSW.
The decision was made despite water users, their communities, and environments right around the Murray Darling Basin being worse off without a framework to incorporate floodplain harvesting into existing water sharing plans in the region issue and enforce limits through metering and compliance on floodplain take.
Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association, Executive Officer Zara Lowien who was at parliament house said she’s still dismayed.
"The NSW Legislative Council voted against improving environmental outcomes in our rivers, floodplains and wetlands and in doing so has lost the faith of industry and our support”.
“Until this mess is sorted out, our legal advice is clear that the status quo leaves floodplain harvesting as unmanaged, unmeasured and unaccounted for right across NSW.”
“We just cannot see how this disallowance is a better deal for NSW”.
“It’s just a waste of $50 million tax-payer dollars and thousands of hours of our members, communities and the department resources that could have been focussing on other priorities, which was all thrown out because of petty politics”.
“The irony is the disallowance occurred on the day the Department released draft entitlement volumes for our region”.
“These proposals in most cases are just 40% of current capacity but the non-government members of parliament effectively gave that water back to us with the disallowance” she said.
“There’s a few irrigators, particularly the ones that have been significantly impacted by eligibility rulings, who will be breathing a sigh of relief” she said.
“They breathe easy because parliament are allowing them a reprieve despite stakeholders and communities calling for better regulation.”
Parliament was so swift to remove any resemblance of red or green tape, we are back to nothing”.
“NSW will have to start the process all over again when they propose a plan to address this state-wide inequity in flood and drought management” she said.
“These are two very important but separate policies. If parliament want to conflate them as done during the disallowance debate, then they must address them concurrently, with proper due diligence and engagement, consistently around the state” she said.
“We’ve tried our best and I’m proud of the effort, unity and leadership during this 8-year ordeal, despite knowing we would face reductions in water”.
“But I just cannot see the benefit for NSW from the 21 members of the NSW Upper House in voting against environmental safeguards, restrictions and transparency. It’s counteractive and it’s their mess now" she said.