Broken Hill pipeline business case should never have been kept from the public
“This business case should never have been kept from the public,” says Barwon MP Roy Butler.
Today after a three-year battle, repeated calls from the community and Members of Parliament the Government has passed on a copy of the business case for the Broken Hill pipeline project.
“For years the community called for transparency around the pipeline project and the Government didn’t deliver.
“Restricting information on the expenditure of public money, or projects affecting local communities does nothing to build trust in government,” said Mr Butler.
While water security for the Broken Hill community is paramount, there are still concerns about who benefited from the pipeline.
“If this is the real business case, it raises serious questions about who benefitted from the construction of the pipeline, and importantly the government’s care factor for communities.
“Certainly the townships of Menindee, Pooncarie and others on the Lower-Darling do not seem to have been considered.
“The business case also glazes over the potential serious environmental impacts of the pipeline on the Darling River and Menindee Lakes, which is completely unacceptable.
“It is the role of Government, to take care of people, industry, and the environment. This business case raises doubt that the Government has the ability to do this,” said Mr Butler.
Since being elected, Mr Butler has been questioning the Government about the pipeline project, raising concerns about the environmental outcomes and seeking certainty for the Broken Hill community around the costs.
“The pipeline has been called a water savings project, of benefit to the Government’s responsibilities under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and yet the costs of operation and maintenance look like they will be passed on to the people of Broken Hill.
“On behalf of the people of Broken Hill I have been calling on the Government to provide an assurance that they will be spared the burden of the high capital and operating costs of this infrastructure,” said Mr Butler.
Last week, Mr Butler released Terms of Reference for an inquiry into water management in NSW.
“I have been publicly calling for an inquiry into water management in NSW for over 18 months now.
“This business case, the way in which it has been developed and managed adds to the needs for a wholistic, transparent, public inquiry, into water management such as a Royal Commission.”