CALL FOR MORATORIUM ON RIVER MURRAY TO BROKEN HILL PIPELINE
This petition had 13,233 supporters
TO: THE PREMIER OF NEW SOUTH WALES, THE HON. GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN, MEMBER FOR WILLOUGHBY
We, the undersigned, ask the NSW Premier the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian to place an immediate moratorium on the 270km River Murray to Broken Hill Pipeline until all current inquiries into allegations of non-compliance, water theft, corruption, and mismanagement of the Murray-Darling Basin water supply are complete.
Far Western New South Wales is known globally as a beautiful, unique part of Australia’s outback, and continues to fill the nation’s coffers via revenue from industries as diverse as mining (BHP Billiton Ltd began in 1883 in Broken Hill), tourism, pastoralism, horticulture, and the arts.
For more than sixty years the Far West city of Broken Hill (population 18,500 app.), Australia’s First Heritage City, has had a safe, secure, and affordable water supply via pipeline from the Menindee Lakes. The Menindee Lakes are at the heart of the 1472 km Darling River that stretches from Queensland down to meet the Murray River at Wentworth. The Menindee Lakes, including the world-renowned Kinchega Park Wetland, are the lifeblood for communities, families, and business which depend on it, a popular outback tourist drawcard. They are also a vital breeding ground for Australia’s native fish species including the Murray Cod, Golden Perch (Yellow Belly), and vulnerable Silver Perch.
Sadly, due to the greed of a few large-scale irrigators upstream and mismanagement, this precious water supply came perilously close to running out in 2015, leaving Broken Hill and Menindee Lakes communities in a precarious position. The dry lakes had a devastating impact on Menindee tourism, horticulture, and employment. In 2018 these communities are under threat by the same risk to their livelihoods, and community wellbeing, because of this greed and mismanagement.
In 2016 the NSW Government announced construction of the Murray to Broken Hill pipeline to secure water supply.
- It makes no economic sense to construct a $500-million-dollar pipeline pumping water 270km UP from the Murray River at Wentworth, to Broken Hill, when the cost of upgrading the current 114km Menindee to Broken Hill pipeline is less than half that, at only $180 million dollars (est.).
- There has been negligible community consultation.
- There has been no full business case, or an Environmental Impact Statement for the Broken Hill pipeline, released to the public, yet construction is due to start in January 2018 and conclude by the end of that year.
- The future economic burden upon Broken Hill households and businesses will not be known until 2019 when I.P.A.R.T. release their pricing determination. Already, many residents fear that they will not be able to afford water, a basic human right.
- By de-commissioning Lake Cawndilla to use as storage, and operating Lake Menindee separately, this means that water will cycle faster down the Darling River to the Murray, threatening the existence of the Menindee Lakes System.
- Proposed amendments to Sustainable Diversion Limits undermine full implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and put at risk the 3200GL environmental water recovery target.
- The sale of Webster’s Limited’s Lower Darling Tandou cotton farm water entitlements (2190l ML) back to the CEWH (Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder) in June 2017 for the sum of $78 million, cost taxpayers almost double the valuation provided by the Commonwealth’s independent assessor, and has been referred to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption for investigation.
We ask the NSW Premier, the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, to place an immediate moratorium on the River Murray to Broken Hill Pipeline until all current inquiries into allegations of non-compliance, water theft, corruption, and mismanagement of the Murray-Darling Basin water supply, are complete.
Menindee Regional Tourist Association
Broken Hill, Menindee Lakes: WE WANT ACTION
Broken Hill and Darling River Action Group
The Greens NSW
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