Monday, July 4, 2022

Shooters, Labor, Greens on the same side over regulation of floodplain harvesting

The Shooters have once again taken aim at NSW communities by partnering with Labor and the Greens to ensure that politics triumphs over sensible regulation of floodplain harvesting in NSW.

The Water Management (General) Amendment (Exemptions for Floodplain Harvesting) Regulation 2020 last night was disallowed in the Upper House with the Shooters, Labor, One Nation and the Greens voting against better management of water take in NSW.

“We have the Shooters Member for Murray at the throat of the Member for Barwon’s community, desperate to strip what water they have left off them,” Mrs Pavey said.

The Regulation, alongside the Floodplain Harvesting Policy, provides a clear framework that outlines the Government’s intent for floodplain harvesting licensing for water users and for the water regulator, the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR).

“It provides clear, enforceable rules that apply until licensing is in place which will reduce – not increase – the capability to harvest floodplain water in the Northern Basin,” Mrs Pavey said.

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“The original Water Sharing Plans developed back in 2004 under the former Labor Government made it clear that Floodplain Harvesting was to be brought into the licencing regime within five years –  this didn’t occur.

“Now that we are finishing the job and bringing floodplain harvesting into the licensing regime it is incredibly disappointing to see the Labor Party abandon their previous support.

Mrs Pavey said the Murray Darling Basin Plan brought in a sustainable diversion limit, which caps the amount of water that can be extracted for productive purposes. Floodplain Harvesting regulations do not change these diversion limits.

“Contrary to what the Member for Murray and her supporters are telling her constituents, banning floodplain harvesting does not mean that water will flow to them. Instead, water historically taken from floodplains could be legally taken from rivers and creeks,” Mrs Pavey said.

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“We are taking steps to ensure that floodplain harvesting in the Northern Basin does not exceed its legal limits under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

“More than $15 million has been invested in improved data collection and modelling to implement the Policy. This work is cutting-edge in terms of modelling and measurement and will support the effective regulation of floodplain harvesting.”

Benefits of the Policy are already being felt with the first ever temporary water restriction to be placed on Floodplain Harvesting from Northern Basin floodplain resulting in the first significant flows down the Darling River to Wentworth since 2016.

Public consultation on proposed water sharing plan changes for floodplain harvesting is set to commence during October for the Border Rivers Valley, with other valleys to follow through the remainder of 2020 and 2021.

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