Menindee Project can't go on

10 September, 2020
Menindee Project can't go on Image

The Menindee Lakes Water Saving Project should be paused pending a Federal Royal Commission.

We cannot have a scenario where one environmental asset is destroyed to gain water for others – it goes against all sense.

The building of the Wentworth to Broken Hill pipeline was always suspected as being a way to decommission the lakes – that is what we see happening here.

The National Party has confirmed it is not interested in protecting the environmental significance of the lakes. Nor protecting the residents of Sunset Strip, Menindee and the lower Darling.

The whole Far West of the State are watching closely, their connection to the lakes and the Darling River runs deep, they will not stand idly by.

When the Government talks of environmental outcomes, they fail to mention that one of the big outcomes of pushing forward with this project isn’t a good one. The Lakes are significant to the entire ecosystem of the Basin; the project on the table could see the loss of hectares of important fish nurseries for Golden Perch, a species that’s taken enough of a whack over the past few years.

Why is the Agriculture Minister, the Minster for Regional NSW, and the Minister for Western NSW all silent on this? What’s the point of their portfolios if they don’t speak up at times like this?

I think it’s premature to take the option of water buybacks from willing sellers off the table. Especially license classes that overtime have become used in a way that was never intended.

If water cannot be returned to the environment via a free market, it will likely be returned through rule changes. That means individual property rights will be compromised, and towns will lose the economic benefit of the lost agricultural production.

The billions of dollars spent on recovering water under the Murray Darling Basin plan has fallen well short of expectations. The public value that was meant to be delivered has often been turned into private value.

The people of Menindee have walked away from the Government consultation in disgust; I share their feelings about the process.

I’ve been a part of the fight to get Government to listen and now I’m walking up to the front of the fight on their behalf.

My Team and I are getting together the tools we have in our arsenal. We will expose what’s going on here and the impact that it is having on the Menindee community, local irrigators, and the downstream-connected communities.

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