Free-for-all to end
The clock has stopped and it is time for the free-for-all in the north to conclude. And it is such a great day.
On Tuesday (September 22) an important disallowance motion was voted on in the Upper House of NSW putting an end to the decades of relentless water take from unlicensed and unmetered irrigators in the north.
This disallowance means northern NSW irrigators must come under the Water Management Act framework as their old Water Act 1912 works approvals have expired after part 8 was removed in 2014 and given five years grace.
Northern NSW irrigators cannot legally take water without a meter or a licence and they now have to get in line like the rest of us.
No doubt they will be in up in arms but every free ride must come to an end and they should be thankful for the 25 years they had in the box seat.
It has been a long road for SRI to get to this point and we have found some unlikely political allies in independent Justine Field, the Animal Justice Party, the Greens, Shooters and Fishers, Labour and One Nation, who all supported the disallowance.
No surprises Water Minister Melinda Pavey, the National Party and the Libs were preaching from a different sermon — one based on misleading information and grossly unfair legislation.
This win means water will once again flow into Menindee and down the Darling.
The Darling will be able to make their 39 per cent contribution at the South Australian border, returning 721,000ML of water to the NSW and Victoria productive pool.
The list is long and this is only the start but we are determined to see water equity return to the basin.