Evidence presented this week at the NSW Upper House Select Committee on Floodplain Harvesting has shown without licencing, floodplain harvesting will increase across the state, having negative impacts on the environment.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said evidence presented at the inquiry demonstrates the importance of regulating this activity.
“While the usual suspects continue to sow doubt and spread mistruths about floodplain harvesting, the legal practice has continued, but unregulated,” Mrs Pavey said.
“Since the NSW Legislative Council disallowed these regulations, which would have minimised environmental impact, more water was taken than what would have been allowed if the practice was regulated, and the wetlands missed out as a result.”
“This is an environmental policy and it is astounding that the Greens, Labor and the Shooters continue to play politics and block a policy that would have lasting positive outcomes for the Murray Darling Basin.”
Mrs Pavey said the purpose of the regulation was to enable floodplain harvesting to be licensed and measured.
“The evidence highlights two certainties – floodplain harvesting is legal and because of the disallowance there is now water in private storages that could have flowed down to critical local ecosystems, including the Gwydir Wetlands and the Macquarie Marshes,” Mrs Pavey said
“Without clear, unambiguous legislation to rein it in, floodplain harvesting will continue.”
Independent evidence from the Natural Resource Access Regulator and Bret Walker AO SC stated that without a licencing framework for Floodplain Harvesting the environment will continue to be to be negatively impacted.