Flood­ing con­cerns

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - NEWS -

Con­cerns have been ex­pressed about the po­ten­tial ram­i­fi­ca­tions of changes that could lead to flood­ing of pub­lic and pri­vate prop­erty.

They come with the NSW Wa­ter Man­age­ment Amend­ment Bill 2018, which has re­cently been passed in the NSW Par­lia­ment.

Un­der the Bill, the re­spon­si­ble Min­is­ter has the power to deem that any flow is for ‘en­vi­ron­men­tal pur­poses’, and dis­solves the Crown of li­a­bil­ity for any dam­ages from en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter­ing.

Jan Beer, from the Up­per Goul­burn River Catch­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, says it “beg­gars be­lief” that the NSW Gov­ern­ment could even con­sider amend­ments of this na­ture, let alone pass them as leg­is­la­tion.

“It ap­pears the NSW Gov­ern­ment has for­got­ten that it shares the Mur­ray River and its man­age­ment with Vic­to­ria.

“Un­der the amend­ments the NSW Gov­ern­ment is wash­ing its hands of any re­spon­si­bil­ity for flood­ing to pri­vate prop­erty while de­liv­er­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter. This is ab­surd,” Mrs Beer said.

She said in the past Vic­to­ria and NSW have stood strongly to­gether to pro­tect peo­ple they rep­re­sent. This lat­est move by the NSW Gov­ern­ment con­tra­venes Vic­to­rian pol­icy which does not al­low flood­ing of pri­vate prop­erty with­out landown­ers’ con­sent.

“The NSW amend­ment is the lat­est change in wa­ter pol­icy and yet again shows the di­vi­sive­ness of the Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin Plan,” Mrs Beer said.

“It has the po­ten­tial to de­stroy the pro­duc­tive ca­pac­ity of thou­sands of flood­plain prop­er­ties. The peo­ple mak­ing these de­ci­sions must be com­pletely ig­no­rant of how dam­ag­ing these flood flows can be.

“To re­cover from a large flood event takes many years. I know from first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence the cost and work in­volved. Repet­i­tive flood­ing will de­stroy these busi­nesses, as it will not be fi­nan­cially vi­able to try and rec­tify the dam­age af­ter each and ev­ery flood.

“Per­haps the amend­ment is specif­i­cally de­signed for the North­ern Basin, be­cause it sim­ply can­not work in the South­ern Basin. If that is the case it should be clearly spec­i­fied.”

Mrs Beer said the Com­mon­wealth En­vi­ron­men­tal Wa­ter Holder had al­ways fol­lowed a ‘ good neigh­bour pol­icy’, un­der which there would be no in­ten­tional flood­ing of pri­vate prop­erty with­out the landowner’s con­sent.

“I’m con­cerned this pol­icy may have changed un­der the new Com­mon­wealth En­vi­ron­men­tal Wa­ter Holder, Jody Swirepik. If that is the case landown­ers need to be ad­vised.”

Mrs Beer said she hoped the is­sue could be re­solved and the NSW Gov­ern­ment was able to ac­cept the folly in its amend­ment.

“It ap­pears the NSW Gov­ern­ment has failed to un­der­stand the po­ten­tial fu­ture risks that are in­volved,” she said.

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