Showing posts with label water wars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label water wars. Show all posts

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Water raiders show their ignorance and reveal the true motive for wanting to dam & divert water from the Clarence River


There are four councils currently calling for the diversion of water from the Clarence River system - Tenterfield Shire Council (NSW), Toowoomba Regional Council (Qld), Southern Downs Regional Council (Qld) and Western Downs Regional Council (Qld).

These local government areas have a combined population of est. 236,984 people.

Here is the aptly named Peter Petty from Tenterfield demonstrating his ignorance about the hydrological processes at work along the more than 380km length of this coastal river. 

He seems to forget there are irrigators already drawing water from the Maryland River, one of the main tributaries of the Clarence River where it rises at Rivertree, NSW and he appears to naively believe that harvesting between 20,00 to 30,000 megalitres from the total unallocated annual flow of 36,839 megalitres would have no effect on the Upper Clarence.

Even if the proposed dam capacity was only 21,000 megalitres that is equivalent to approximately 57 per cent of the average annual unallocated water flowing from this tributary into the Clarence River.

Mr. Petty is likely one of the people supporting an application to Infrastructure Australia to fund this large dam on the Maryland River, in order to pump pipe water over 45 kms as the crow flies into a region in Queensland which is quite capable of building water infrastructure within southern Queensland to meet the needs of its own population.

Just as the last time councils in the Murray-Darling Basin made a concerted effort to raid the Clarence River catchment when the hidden agenda was obtaining someone else's water to expand their own urban footprint and/or grow their own local economies, Mr. Petty let slip a similar hidden motive this time.

It's not about water to relieve current drought conditions because a project such as these councils are suggesting takes years to bring to fruition and will do nothing to ease current water shortages.

No, it's about conning the Federal, New South Wales and Queensland governments into backing infrastructure which will enable this blatant water theft because "they are looking to expand"

The Daily Examiner, 5 September 2019, p.3, excerpt: 

On the issue of building a dam on the Maryborough River, Tenterfield Mayor Peter Petty said he was not concerned about the effect on the lower Clarence because of the small percentage of water being redirected. 

“With the research and everything that has been done up here, we are talking less than 1per cent,” he said. 

Cr Petty said the water issues regional councils faced now were in part due to a reluctance from governments to invest in water infrastructure. He said if people were serious about decentralisation, then more needed to be done to shore up water supplies. 

“We used to lead the world but there has been nothing done for 40 years,” he said. “I have no problem supporting populations to support industry, but you cannot do it without infrastructure to secure water. 

“These towns need to be supported, and especially where they are looking to expand. (Towns like) Warwick and Toowoomba should have had adequate water supply years ago and now we are playing catch up.”

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

A proposal to dam the headwaters of the Clarence River would be a “bloody disaster”, says a grazier whose family has lived on the river since 1880


Freshwater section of the Clarence River
Photo: The Daily Examiner, 31 August 2019
The Daily Examiner, 31 August 2019, p.1: 

A proposal to dam the headwaters of the Clarence River would be a “bloody disaster”, says a grazier whose family has lived on the river since 1880. Trevor Wingfield said the flow in the river at his property at Fine Flower was the worst he had seen since the 1990-94 drought. 

“I can drive across the river on my motorbike and the water doesn’t even cover the tyres on the bike,” he said. 

“The ABC came out to shoot some footage to use on the Country Hour and I was able to ride my motorbike along the river and barely wet the wheels. 

“Normally there would be three to four foot of water in the river at this time of the year.” Mr Wingfield rates the current water flows as worse than the 1990s drought. 

“It took from 1990 to ’94 for the flows in the river to get so low. This time it’s only been about 14 months.” 

He said taking any water out of the system during drought times would be disastrous and farmers along the Clarence would fight it. 

“If they try anything, they’ve got a big fight on their hands,” he said. “I’ve got a heap of women from around here behind me and they’re not going to take a backward step. 

“I call this my river. I was reared on it and my family has seen all that’s happened on it since the 1880s. 

“The Aboriginals told my grandparents things about this river no-one knows now. There’s nothing anyone can tell me about the Clarence River.” 

Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons was also adamant no water would be leaving the Clarence for a long time. 

Cr Simmons said not one of the Southern Downs, Toowoomba, Western Downs and Tenterfield Shire councils had contacted the Clarence Valley about a proposal to pipe water inland from the Clarence headwaters. 

“It’s a little surprising they’ve gone so far down the track without involving us,” Cr Simmons said. 

“Neither State Government has contacted us either.” 

He said the council would defend the region against any attempts to take water out of the Clarence catchment. 

“The attitude here is pretty strongly against it and if there was to be any change in policy we would have to thoroughly consult the community,” he said. 

Cr Simmons said people who saw the tidal reaches of the Clarence River at Grafton or in the Lower Clarence would have a different view if they saw it north of Copmanhurst. 

“They would see some pretty shallow flows in the river,” he said. 

He said the Clarence Valley’s water supply came from the Nymboida River and the Shannon Creek Dam, which supplies water to the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour. 

Cr Simmons said the Valley was now enjoying the benefits of planning for the future, which other areas perhaps needed to emulate. 

“The problem for these councils is this plan won’t help them now,” Cr Simmons said. 

“The lead time in consultation and planning, plus the construction of the infrastructure that would include water-conveying infrastructure as well as any dams will take a long time.” 

Cr Simmons said the Clarence catchment would need all the water unless there was good rain soon. 

“We were out opening a bridge on the Old Glen Innes Rd recently and I saw the creek bed was completely dry,” he said. “We might not be in a position to be giving up any of our water pretty soon.” 

The man who kicked off the Not ADrop campaign to keep the Clarence River flowing, former Daily Examiner editor Peter Ellem, said his position has not changed since those days. 

Mr Ellem, a Clarence Valley councillor, said he preferred to leave commentary on the latest developments to the Mayor, but was on record opposing any river diversion proposals. 

The Clarence Valley’s drinking water supplies look good for now, with the Nymboida River flow of 236 ML/day feeding consumption of 18.17 ML/day.

The Shannon Creek Dam is at 97 per cent capacity. 

The Daily Examiner, 31 August 2019, p.18: 

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK 
BILL NORTH Editor 

Take your gloves off and dig your heels into the muddy (edit: crystal-clear rocky) banks of the Clarence. 

We’re going in for round two of the Not a Drop: Keep the Clarence Mighty campaign and this one could be an epic battle for the ages. 

Views on how best to manage water vary greatly depending on whether you watch sunrises over sea or sunsets over dusty plains. 

Those inland dwellers living in the rain shadow of the Great Dividing Range and sparse expanses beyond are in the grips of despair, pondering ways to manufacture reliable water supplies to ensure their longevity. 

Southern Downs councillors voted in favour of submitting a project to divert water from the upper reaches of the Clarence River west as top priority in a list of significant projects to the Federal Government. 

They see a seven per cent water allocation with large volumes flowing out to sea as a waste. 

We know natural river flows are imperative to sustain fish stocks that drive our tourism industry in the upper and lower catchment, as well as commercial viability in the estuary. 

They perceive that piping water inland will have little impact on coastal communities while rescuing the economic viability of Australia’s food basket. 

We know a dam would have a disastrous impact on farmers living downstream in a Valley where primary production – which includes beef, sugar cane, aquaculture, prawn trawling, fishing, macadamias and blueberries – is worth almost $500 million to its annual economy. 

The Southern Downs region incorporates councils from Toowoomba, Western Downs and Southern Downs in Queensland as well as Tenterfield Shire in NSW and has “a major deficit in access to secure water supplies for urban consumption and for agriculture”, according to Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio. 

“New sources of water can include diversion from the headwaters of the Clarence River basin via the Maryland River,” Cr Antonio said. 

“Nothing short of a visionary, nation-building initiative led by the Commonwealth will solve this problem.” 

When the Darling Downs was last gripped in severe drought in 2006, then-editor of The Daily Examiner Peter Ellem deflected calls for water diversion in true Darryl Kerrigan fashion: “Tell ’em up there in Toowoomba they’re dreamin’,” he said at the time. 

This publication launched the Not a Drop: Keep the Clarence Mighty campaign and successfully resisted the federal push to investigate options.  
As droughts get harsher the waves of pressure inevitably become stronger and a government desperate to find solutions to combat the climate disaster may turn to drastic measures. 

If we have to go to war with the Federal Government again, the Clarence River could become little more than a red trickle after that bloodbath. 

As we’ve seen with Adani and other coal-mining projects in Queensland, not even the Great Barrier Reef – a World Heritage area with a tourism industry worth $6.4 billion a year – can stand in the way when this Government sets its mind to something. 

At a meet-the-candidates forum for the state election earlier this year, all five Clarence candidates stood firm against the idea of sharing our water. 

It’s that kind of solidarity that will be needed in the fight to keep our pristine waters unsullied. As the leading and most trusted local media source, we reach a greater audience in the Clarence Valley than anyone else and are your most effective mouthpiece. 

What do you think about ideas to divert water west? Or proposals to build dams, mines and ports in our river system? 

Join the debate, send an email to newsroom@dailyexaminer.com.au and have your say as we fight protect our most valuable asset: water.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The Liberal & Nationals answer to all the water policy mistakes they have made in the past. Full speed ahead to make some more!



In 2006 the Howard Coalition Government’s then Minister for Water Malcolm Bligh Turnbull attempted an under-the-radar progression of a proposal to dam and divert water from the Clarence River system into the Murray Darling Basin. He was sprung and it lost his government the seat of Page in 2007.

When Tony Abbott was prime minister he was all gung-ho for damming east coast rivers, but was by then wary of the mood of Clarence Valley communities.

Despite a certain coolness on Tony Abbott’s part and Turnbull's silence once he followed Abbott as prime minister, the wannabee water raiders within the Basin have never given up on the idea of destroying the Clarence River in order to continue lucrative water trading for profit and inappropriate levels of farm irrigation in the Basin.

This is a mockup of what these raiders would like to see along the Clarence River. 

North Coast Voices, 1 March 2013
On 30 April 2019 Scott Morrison and Co announced the proposed creation of the National Water Grid which in effect informs communities in the Northern Rivers region that our wishes, being “political” because we are not their handpicked ‘experts’, will be ignored when it comes to proposed large-scale water diversion projects including dams if they are re-elected on 18 May 2019.

The Daily Examiner, 4 May 2019, p.10:

“Just add water” is the Nationals’ answer to “unleashing the potential” of regional Australia but it would come at a cost to areas flush with the precious resource.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced on Tuesday at the National Press Club that a returned Coalition government would establish an authority, the National Water Grid, to manage water policy and infrastructure.

“We know the key to unlocking the potential of regional Australia is simple – just add water,” he said.

The announcement of the National Water Grid has sparked fears the Clarence and Nymboida rivers may be dammed to irrigate drought-stricken areas of the country – a prospect the Clarence Valley community has faced before.

The Nationals’ Page MP, Kevin Hogan, said there were “no plans to dam the Clarence River”.

“There are proposals in other drought-affected areas of the country,” he said…..

The planned National Water Grid would ensure water infrastructure would be based on the best available science, “not on political agendas”, Mr McCormack said.

It would “provide the pipeline of all established, current and future water infrastructure projects and then identify the missing links”.

Mr McCormack said dams were the answer to “create jobs”, “back agriculture and back farmers”.

“While we are being bold and building big, we are often stopped at the first hurdle when it comes to short-sighted state governments that choose politics over practicality, and indeed science,” he said…..

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

NSW Chief Scientist's interim report re Independent Review of the Impact of the Bottled Water Industry on Groundwater Resources in the Northern Rivers region was due on 1 February 2019


The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte is currently conducting an Independent Review of the Impactof the Bottled Water Industry on Groundwater Resources in the Northern Riversregion of NSW.

As part of the review members of the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer conducted consultation sessions in the area with stakeholders on Sunday 20 and Monday 21 January 2019.

The NSW Coalition Berejiklian Government was scheduled to receive an initial report from the Chief Scientist and Engineer on 1 February 2019.

This date, coming as it did during the period when there is a growing awareness of the ongoing ecological crisis cause by mismanagement of the Murray-Darling Basin water resources by federal and states governments, may explain why there has been no mention made by the NSW Government of this interim report in the media.

However, concerned communities and residents in the Northern Rivers region deserve to have this report made publicly available as soon as possible. Not conveniently hidden away until after the 23 March state election.

BACKGROUND


The NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer will provide advice on sustainable groundwater extraction limits in the region, as well as advice on whether the current or proposed groundwater monitoring bores are sufficient.

Local councils have been advised to suspend approving any new applications for water mining until the report is complete in mid-2019.

Since 2017, EDO NSW has been providing advice to clients in the Tweed valley who have concerns about the way in which water bottling developments are assessed, approved and enforced.

Water bottling – the extraction, processing and bottling of groundwater for sale - is controversial, as it can compete with other water users and have adverse impacts on groundwater-dependent ecosystems. These operations also generate considerable plastic waste and the water transport tankers can impact the amenity and safety of people living in rural areas.

With bottling looking set to expand in the Tweed valley, our Legal Outreach team conducted a workshop on water regulation and enforcement in the Tweed Valley to help the community understand and participate in the regulation of water bottling operations. We also drafted several letters to the local council on the approval process for bottling facilities in order to clarify the legal standards in the local environmental plan and the scientific studies needed to support a development application for a facility.  

With our assistance, our client produced a detailed report alleging ongoing and systemic breaches of development consent conditions for four local water bottling facilities and setting out the range of enforcement options available to Council. We then met with Council and briefed Councillors on their powers and responsibilities as the regulator under law. We were able to work constructively with Council to ensure the full range of investigation and enforcement options were understood and since then Council has taken decisive steps to ensure water bottling operations in the Tweed are complying with the law.

The Chief Scientist & Engineer is expected to provide his initial report by early February 2019, with a final report to be published in mid-2019.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Another thing for NSW voters to remember as they cast their ballot in the 2019 state and federal elections


The Shenhua Group appear to have first approached the NSW O'Farrell Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government in 2011-2012 concerning its plans to mine for coal on the Liverpool Plains, a significant NSW foodbowl. 

This particular state government was the subject of not one but two investigations by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) - Operations Spicer (2014) and Credo (2014). 

After he was found to have misled the independent commission Premier O'Farrell resigned as Premier in April 2014 and as Liberal MP for Ku-ring-gai in March 2015. Similarly the then NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for the Central Coast, Special Minister of State and Liberal MP for Terrigal Chris Hartcher resigned as government minister in December 2013 after he was named in ICAC hearings and left the parliament in March 2015.

On 28 January 2015 the NSW Minister for Planning and Liberal MP for Goulburn Pru Goward granted development consent for a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned Shenhua Group, Shenhua Watermark Coal Pty Ltd, to create and operate an open cut mine on the Liverpool Plains. 

On 4 July 2015 then Australian Minister for the Environment and Liberal MP for Flinders Greg Hunt ticked off on the Abbott Government's environmental approval for Shenhua Watermark Coal to proceed with its mining operation.

Glaringly obvious environmental risks associated with large-scale mining in the region and vocal local community opposition had led to a downsizing of the potential mine site, for which the  NSW Berejiklian Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government paid the Shenhua Group $262 million in compensation.
ABC News, 31 July 2015, projected new mine boundaries

However, in July 2018 the Berejiklian Government renewed Shenhua’s mining exploration licence.


Given that on the successive watches of the O'Farrell, Baird and Berejiklian governments instances of mismanagement and/or corrupt conduct in relation to water sustainability, mining leases and the environment have been reported one would think that an abundance of caution would be exercised.

Instead we now learn that that Shenhua Watermark Coal has been allowed to vary development consent conditions for the open cut mine on the edge of the flood plain and, it is looking increasingly like pro coalformer mining industry lawyer, current Australian Minister for the Environment and Liberal MP for Durack, Melissa Price, will wave through these variations on behalf of the Morrison Liberal-Nationals Coalition Government. 

Thereby placing even more pressure on the already stressed surface and underground water resources of the state.

The Liverpool Plains are said to be a significant groundwater source in the New South Wales section of the Murray-Darling Basin.

Lock The Gate Alliance, 8 January 2019:

The NSW Government has allowed mining company Shenhua to alter its development approval for the controversial Watermark open cut coal mine in the Liverpool Plains, near Gunnedah, which will enable work on site to begin without key management plans being approved.

Despite the NSW deal, Shenhua is still not able to commence work under the Federal environmental approval until two important management plans, including the crucial Water Management Plan, have been approved by the Federal Government.

Now local farmers are afraid that the Federal Environment Minister, Melissa Price, may be about to follow the NSW Government lead and vary the approval to allow Shenhua to start pre-construction for their mine without the management plans that were promised.

Liverpool Plains farmer John Hamparsum said, “We’re disgusted that the NSW Government has capitulated to Shenhua yet again, and amended the development consent to let them start pre-construction work without the crucial Water Management Plan in place.

"They have repeatedly stated that the best science would apply to this mine before any work was done, and now they’ve thrown that out the window.

"We’re calling on the Federal Environment Minister, Melissa Price, and New England MP, Barnaby Joyce to now step up and promise that not a sod will be turned on this mine until the full Water Management Plan has been developed and reviewed by independent scientists.

"This mine represents a massive threat to our water resources and our capacity to feed Australia, and if the National Party has any respect for agriculture they need to act now and deliver on their promise that the best science will be applied.

"We won’t accept creeping development of this mine and weakening of the conditions that were put in place to protect our precious groundwater," he said.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said, "It’s been four years since the NSW and Federal Governments approved Shenhua’s Watermark coal mine on the Liverpool Plains and there are still no management plans in place.

"Instead of upholding the conditions of Shenhua’s approval, the NSW Government has watered them down so that Shenhua can start work without these crucial plans in place.

"The community has a long memory and will not accept Governments changing the rules to the benefit of foreign-owned mining giants over local farmers," she said.

The former Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, made a strong commitment that a Water Management Plan for the project would not be approved unless the Independent Expert Scientific Committee was satisfied with it.

The amended NSW approval can be accessed here.

A legal perspective on the issues surrounding water management by Dr Emma Carmody, Senior Policy and Law Reform Solicitor, EDO NSW and Legal Advisor, Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, is included in the December 2018 issue of Law Society Journal,  Managing our scarce water resources: recent developments in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

What did National Party federal ministers know about allegations of water theft & fraud and when did they know it?



Before unlawfully entering federal politics in 2004, Nationals MP for New England Barnaby Joyce was an accountant in St. George, Queensland just 119 km up the Barwon Highway from the extensive Norman cotton farming complex.

As a senator for Queensland he was Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Infrastructure and Water from 25.3.2010 to 14.9.2010 and Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Water from 14.9.2010 to 18.9.2013.

He became a Cabinet Minister in the Abbott Coalition Government and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia in the Turnbull Coalition Government.

From 21.9.2015 to 27.10.2017 and then from  6.12.2017 to 20.12.2017 he was also the federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

Lawfully elected to the Australian Parliament for the first time in the 2017 New England by-election, thereafter he has sat as a National Party backbencher.

Given what we now know about Joyce’s attitude to control of water resources and his favouring of the needs of irrigators over those of dryland farmers and the environment the question must be asked – what did he know about this alleged $20 million fraud and when did he know it?

The same question also needs to be asked concerning current Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources & Nationals MP for Maranoa David Littleproud’s knowledge of this matter.

ABC News, 9 January 2018:

Two senior figures in Queensland cotton conglomerate Norman Farming have been arrested over an alleged $20 million fraud involving federal funds earmarked for Murray-Darling water savings.

Norman Farming CEO John Norman, 43, and his chief financial officer Steve Evans, 53, surrendered themselves at the Brisbane watch house Tuesday morning with their lawyers at their sides.

The men appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court Tuesday afternoon and were granted bail.

Police are alleging the rural fraud operation involved the director of the company submitting fraudulent claims, including falsified invoices related to six water-efficiency projects on the southern border property near Goondiwindi, known as Healthy Headwater projects.

Mr Evans will face charges in relation to four of those projects.

Police said the sophisticated fraud spanned seven years.

It has taken the rural arm of the major and organised crime squad more than a year to conduct what Detective Inspector Mick Dowie called, "a very protracted, very complex investigation".

Inspector Dowie said they had to trawl through thousands of documents and call in forensics accountants because of the sheer scale of the activities.

"There has obviously been a significant amount of documentation that's had to be analysed, and the offences particularly relate to the modification of invoices from contractors or service providers to the farming community," he said.

"We'll allege the company contracted harvesters or machinery operators to prepare for farming.

"And [we'll allege] those invoices were modified to show it was actually for earthworks related to the improvement of water efficiency, modified to suit the needs of the claim, and, we will allege, purely fabricated claims for use of machinery to fulfil the needs of the claims."

Norman Farming, a large cotton operation near Goondiwindi in Queensland's southern border region, was raided last October as part of a major criminal investigation, after a long covert operation.

At that time, the ABC's Lateline program reported the agricultural conglomerate was on the market for more than $100 million.

It also reported local farmers' concerns the Healthy Headwaters scheme had failed because there was never any checking of invoices by department officials.
According to Lateline, the Federal Government was made aware of allegations Norman Farming was diverting floodwaters in late 2016.

But the $154 million Healthy Headwaters budget was being administered by Queensland's Department of Natural Resources.

Inspector Dowie said in the department's defence it did not have any power of compulsion like police.

"So they can't force people to hand over documentation like we can, so they can compare original against what is produced," he said…..

BACKGROUND

Excerpt from SA Murray Darling Basin Royal Commission Exhibit




The Guardian, 9 April 2018:

Fraud charges are expected to be laid against one of Queensland’s biggest cotton irrigators, John Norman, within a matter of weeks.

If the trial of the owner-operator of Norman Farming, and former cotton farmer of the year goes ahead, it is likely to draw attention to the links between the irrigator’s family and that of the federal minister for agriculture and water resources, David Littleproud.

If the charges are laid, they will also throw the spotlight on the Queensland government’s failure in administering a key plank of the $13bn Murray-Darling basin plan, how it withheld critical information about the alleged crimes, and how it raises queries as to whether it lied about its own investigation.

For the past 18 months, an expanding team of undercover detectives, cybercrime experts and forensic accountants have been investigating Norman’s business on the Queensland/New South Wales border, an irrigated cotton aggregate stretching 45km north from the McIntyre river.

The investigation has focused on whether Norman Farming misused upwards of $25m in Murray-Darling basin infrastructure funds that were supposed to make the irrigator more efficient and deliver water back to the ailing river system downstream.
The plan for the basin is funded by the commonwealth and administered by state governments. But allegations that the $150m Healthy Headwaters Water Use Efficiency projects in Queensland, part of the MDB plan, lacked any genuinely independent checks on projects, means it may have been left open to corruption.
“It’s been a loosey-goosey slush fund helping irrigators get richer,” according to Chris Lamey, a dry-land farmer who’s seeking compensation from Norman, his neighbour. “It’s achieved the opposite of what was intended. There’s a lot of water not getting into NSW now and it’s backed up in dams next door to me.”

Queensland’s covert police investigation into Norman Farming went public in October 2017, when dozens of major crime squad detectives holding multiple subpoenas fanned out from Goondiwindi in early-morning high-speed convoys, heading across the floodplain to the irrigator’s properties and several of its contractors in and around the border river town.

The first person police met at Norman’s main Kalanga property, according to a source close to the investigation, was a teenage office worker who, when asked where the financial records were kept, explained they had been cleared out only days before by backpackers hired by her boss through a local publican. She took police to a locked shipping container where they had been moved.....


Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has stoked the controversy over claims of water theft in NSW aired by the ABC, dismissing the report as a ploy to strip more water off rural communities.

The comments have prompted the South Australian government to call for his removal from the post of federal water minister.

Mr Joyce told a gathering in a pub on Wednesday evening in the northern Victorian town of Shepparton, that it was important the Nationals had taken control of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

"[We've got] $13 billion invested in it," Mr Joyce said, referring to the plan, according to a recording by the ABC. "We've taken water and put it back into agriculture [ministry] so we can look after you and make sure we don't have the greenies running the show, basically sending you out the back door."

Mr Joyce took aim at the Four Corners investigation broadcast this week that identified apparent rorting by some irrigators of billions of litres in the Barwon-Darling region of northern NSW.

The program stirred national concern and prompted NSW water minister Niall Blair on Wednesday to appoint a former head of the National Water Commission Ken Matthews to conduct an independent probe of the claims.

Mr Joyce downplayed the impact of the alleged water theft at a media conference in Canberra on Wednesday - likening it cattle rustling - before dismissing the claims further at the Shepparton gathering......

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Update on attempt by water raiders from the Murray-Darling Basin to get NSW Government agreement to dam and divert water from the Clarence River system


The NSW Legislative Council Industry and Transport Committee Inquiry report would not go so far as to recommend damming and diverting water from the Clarence River catchment and, the Berejiklian Government would only go as far as "noting' the fallback position held by the water raiders from the Murray-Darling Basin.


Recommendation 40

That the NSW Government consider establishing a stormwater and/or flood harvesting pilot program for flood mitigation in the Northern Rivers.

6.89 The committee heard evidence from some inquiry participants that there may be potential benefits of diverting the Clarence River to the west. These inquiry participants were of the view that there is merit to any strategy that seeks to mitigate floods and flood damage in the Clarence Valley and provide additional water for agriculture in the Barwon region. The committee acknowledges that stakeholders were divided on the issue of water diversion. However, some inquiry participants held strong views against diverting waters from the Clarence River to the west.

 6.90 We also acknowledge the work of local councils in undertaking repair work for public assets and infrastructure and the strain that such labour has on council resources, finances and staff. The committee acknowledges that stakeholders called for the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements to undergo a review in order to compensate for council resources and staff, the committee supports this idea and recommends the NSW Government pursue this through the Council of Australian Governments.



Expect this issue to be revisted by the Coalition Government if it wins the March 2019 NSW state election.