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Floodplain harvesting inquiry is a chance to clear the air after government’s failed floodwater giveaway

23 June 2021 

The Nature Conservation Council looks forward to contributing to the NSW Upper House inquiry into floodplain harvesting announced today. 

“The inquiry follows the introduction earlier this year of poorly designed regulations that would have transferred billions of dollars’ worth of public water into private hands,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 

“Those floodplain harvesting regulations would also have denied water-dependent wildlife, ecosystems and downstream communities vital water resources just as climate change is really starting to bite in NSW, especially in the Far West. 

“Had they not been disallowed by the NSW Parliament, they would have constituted one of the greatest transfers of natural resources into private hands in Australia’s history. 

“Floodplain harvesting is killing our rivers. It needs to be reined in, not given a blanket exemption.” 

The NSW Legislative Council voted today to establish a select committee into: 

  1. the NSW Government’s management of floodplain harvesting, including: 
  2. The legality of floodplain harvesting practices;  
  3. The water regulations published on 30 April 2021; 
  4. How floodplain harvesting can be licensed, regulated, metered and monitored so that it is sustainable and meets the objectives of the Water Management Act 2000 and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan; and  
  5. Any other related matters. 

The committee will have three government MPs, three Opposition MPs and two crossbenchers. Greens MLC Cate Faerhman will be chairperson. Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Mark Banaziak will be deputy chair. 

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