Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and spokesperson for water has given notice of a select committee into the NSW Government’s management of Floodplain Harvesting, inviting the Minister for Water to work constructively with the Legislative Council to address its concerns following the disallowance of the floodplain harvesting regulations.
“These regulations would have legitimised and made permanent a form of water take that has never been licensed or measured, never been accounted for under the cap and that has been depriving communities, farmers and aboriginal nations along the Darling-Baaka and the Menindee Lakes,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“They would have provided compensable licences with water entitlements worth millions of dollars, tying the hands of any future Government that would seek to rein in floodplain harvesting.
“Many stakeholders have expressed their alarm that, once again, these floodplain harvesting regulations appear to have been made in the interests of the big irrigators in the northern basin and no one else.
“With the support of Labor and the crossbench, we are establishing an Inquiry into the government’s management of floodplain harvesting and the entire process undertaken to regulate and licence it.
“This inquiry will give a voice to communities, farmers and First Nations people along the Darling-Baaka River who have been silenced throughout this process.
“The committee will be making recommendations on how floodplain harvesting should be licensed and regulated. I look forward to constructively working with the Water Minister to see an outcome that works for the entire basin.
“The Government claims that these regulations would have brought floodplain harvesting within the cap, but they have not provided any evidence that seriously backs up this claim. This Inquiry will examine the legality of floodplain harvesting as well as the modelling underpinning the government’s claims that licensing floodplain harvesting won’t exceed the basin cap,” said Ms Faehrmann.