Push on to stop Walgett water auction

ABC - Western Plains, July 16, 2009

Water users across north-west New South Wales will today appeal to the State Government to stop next week’s controversial water auction at Walgett.

Coonamble farmers Neil and Anne Kennedy have formed the Great Artesian Basin Protection Group to fight the sale of water saved under the Cap and Pipe the Bores Scheme.

The group, which now has 50 members, will today meet Government officials in Sydney.

Mr Kennedy says if the Government will not call off the sale the group may seek an injunction.

“Because it’s such a fragile resource, the Great Artesian Basin, we honestly believe that they’re doing something terribly wrong in trying to sell it off,” he said.

“They’ve overcommitted themselves with the rivers and even some parts of the basin are overcommitted and we think it could easily happen out here and we could all be without water.”

Mr Kennedy says he is hopeful commonsense will prevail.

“We have hopes that they will have the sense to realise that the only way to correct the situation would be to call the sale off and to totally review, with all users of the Great Artesian Basin, the situation and actually see if there is any more surplus water to be sold,” he said.

The state Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries, says the sale should not go ahead until more information is provided to the community.

“All the good work that’s been done to date with Cap and Pipe may be undermined and we should not progress the auction until we have an intergovernmental agreement on the Great Artesian Basin between New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia,” he said.

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