Community group takes legal action to enforce water laws because the Coalition government has not
The Inland Rivers Network is taking legal action to force Peter Harris, a big irrigator in the state’s northwest and a Nationals Party donor, to return more than five billion litres of water he took, allegedly illegally, from the Barwon-Darling River. 
“It should not fall to community groups to enforce our water laws, but the Berejiklian’s government’s inaction has left the Inland Rivers Network no option,” said Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolski.
“not only do floodplain harvesting diversions deny economic opportunities across the Northern Basin, left unregulated they are one of the most significant threats to water security in the Northern Murray-Darling Basin”.
An unsolicited modification of licences for irrigators on the Macquarie River has allowed water earmarked for protecting one of the most important wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin to be diverted for a cotton crop.
When a lawyer of the standing of Bret Walker SC uses language such as “maladministration”, “unlawful”, “gross negligence” and “indefensible” to describe the conduct of a statutory authority, it’s understandable that it attracts attention.
NSW Nature Conservation Council and the Inland Rivers Network welcome NSW Labor’s plan for a special commission of inquiry into management of the Darling River system, especially if it results in new measures to ensure environmental water flows are protected.
“A fraud on the environment” is how lawyers for the Royal Commission framed it. Cronyism, cover-ups, deception, secrecy, scientists “leaned on”. The Murray-Darling Basin Royal Commission report is to be handed down in little over a month and the outcome, for Australia’s water authorities, will not be pretty. Triskele reports – in a tragi-comedy in three acts – on the extraordinary events surrounding Australia’s most critical inland water system.