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Upholding water laws, because the government will not!

Media Release

14 November 2017

 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. [1]

“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.

Full Details at the EDO NSW website: IRN v Harris and Another

EARTH FIRST: Water-saving Basin projects hang in the balance

Bev Smiles, President of the Inland Rivers Network, was critical of the reduction of environmental flow, saying “Inland Rivers Network is very disappointed that the Macquarie Marshes, Menindee Lakes and the Darling River below Bourke have been sacrificed in a poor Basin plan that will not deliver the required ecological outcomes for native fish, red gum forests, wetlands and downstream communities.

“The very risky compromise decision signed off by the Coalition and the ALP on Monday, does nothing to improve water quality or support internationally significant natural areas in the Murray-Darling Basin,” she said.

“The opportunity to improve drought resilience for native species has been lost.”

https://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/5394796/earth-first-water-saving-basin-projects-hang-in-the-balance/

Partial recovery of key Murray-Darling Basin sites stirs debate

Several key ecological Murray-Darling Basin sites are showing positive responses to extra water, stirring debate about whether planned cuts to environmental flows should proceed.

“We know that artificial watering, particularly using works, is not at all the same thing as natural flooding and produces different ecological responses,” Mr Bell said.

“The notion that you don’t need more water but somehow more concrete’s going to do the job seems to me pretty hard to swallow.”

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/partial-recovery-of-key-murray-darling-basin-sites-stirs-debate-20180501-p4zcot.html

WaterNSW boss told cotton grower of bid to keep his usage data from being released

A letter from the head of WaterNSW to cotton grower Peter Harris, saying he was exploring an exemption from the state’s freedom of information laws so it would not be required to release water usage records in future.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/28/waternsw-boss-told-cotton-grower-of-bid-to-keep-his-usage-data-from-being-released?CMP=share_btn_fb

WaterNSW took almost a year to act on water theft accusations: EDO

…the subsequent lack of action by WaterNSW – even after the widespread publicity and public inquiries prompted by the Four Corner program – prompted EDO NSW to initiate civil enforcement action on behalf of the Inland Rivers Network.

“We took on this case to protect the health of the Murray-Darling Basin river system, which relies on proper compliance with the law,” Elaine Johnson, EDO’s principal solicitor, said.

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/waternsw-year-act-theft-accusations-edo-20180311-p4z3u5.html

Photo Ross Lake

Treachery!

“The report is derived from data which belongs to the public, was prepared for public purpose by servants of the public using taxpayers’ money, and should have been made available to the public,” Rex Patrick, the Nick Xenophon Team senator, said, adding the information was “highly relevant to the Northern Basin Review debate”.

“That it wasn’t made available for Parliament’s consideration is nothing short of a treachery,” Senator Patrick said.

http://www.watoday.com.au/environment/treachery-leaked-report-reveals-low-river-flow-blamed-on-extraction-20180303-p4z2pu.html

SMH – Murray Darling Basin’s future in the balance – Peter Hannam

Genuine science and comprehensive evidence provide balance in the debate over the Murray-Darling Basin in this article in the Sydney Morning Herald 15th Feb 18.

We hear from Mal Peters (former Chair of the Northern Basin Advisory Committee), Maryanne Slattery (former MDBA staffer), Bill Johnson (formerly a NSW environmental water manager and staffer with the MDBA) and Fiona Paton (environmental engineer with the University of Adelaide).

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/traitors-and-turncoats-murray-darling-basin-s-future-in-the-balance-20180215-p4z0ik.html