Labor Shadow Minister for Water, Clayton Barr, has expressed his shock and disgust at the National Party Water Minister Melinda Pavey’s decision to not hold a meeting with water stakeholders within 500km of the communities of the Menindee Lakes and Broken Hill.
Mr Barr has called on Gladys Berejiklian and Melinda Pavey to guarantee that consultation meetings happen in Broken Hill, Menindee and Wentworth.
Minister Pavey is using community meetings in other parts of the State to rubber stamp her final version of Water Resource Plans due to be submitted to the Federal Government for accreditation.
Incredibly, communities that suffered the most because of the Nationals and Liberals neglect of the Murray-Darling basin, including Broken Hill, the Menindee Lakes and surrounds will be forced to drive more than 6 hours to either the north (Bourke) or South-East (Deniliquin) if they want to have their say.
These communities have been effectively silenced by Melinda Pavey and the National Party.
Mr Barr said: “It is gutless and cowardly for these Liberals and Nationals to go out of their way to prevent these communities from being listened to.”
“There is 2000km of river that will not have a consultation meeting and most importantly these 2000km’s are the bottom of the river system, the place where the health of the river is really tested.”
The Menindee Lakes still face permanent mothballing under NSW Government plans to prioritise water supply to a small number of very influential northern cotton irrigators, with close links to the NSW National Party, at the expense of all other considerations.
Already, the Broken Hill Pipeline business case and construction, using $480M of taxpayer money, clarified that an important outcome was to free up water for these same northern irrigators linked to the NSW Nationals and currently under ICAC investigation.