The NSW Government released a report last week responding to the Select Committee on floodplain harvesting recommendations that was released in December last year.
The NSW Government said that it “welcomes the report” and is now working to address the Select Committee’s recommendations.
Nature Conservation Council of NSW Community Organiser Melissa Gray said that it is disappointing that the Government response has not made any concessions to the concerns of the communities of the Darling-Baaka in terms of the Floodplain Harvesting take.
“This is their take on their actions which is not addressing the key concerns.
“They are trying to paint a reality that people on the ground, that communities know is not the case.”
“The Government is trying to say that they are not increasing the limits when clearly there is a significant shift of water from the environmental side of the ledger to the agribusiness side of the ledger and they are trying to convince us that that is not the case, but it clearly is.”
Ms Gray said that after three disallowances in Parliament and a Parliamentary Inquiry, the Government are continuing to ignore the fundamental issues.
“Too much water is taken and that they seem to be happy to pretend that the Darling Baaka is used completely drying up, which is not the case.”
Ms Gray said that the NSW Government response report has referred to flow targets that “are woefully inadequate to support the ecology of the river.”
“This is knife edge stuff!”
“We have got to get this right; the government is determined to bulldoze ahead with plans that former Minister Melinda Pavey put through last year,” she said.
“They are justifying giving away enormous volumes of water as rainfall runoff.”
“Why should that be given as a gift, why should that not be licensed as a form of water take.”
Ms Gray said that the onus once again is falling on communities to call upon local politicians to demand better regulation that protects the environment and Lower Darling communities.