News

Meetings will talk about class action

By Country News

A Southern Riverina Irrigators-led class action will be the focus of a number of community meetings this week.

A group of southern Riverina irrigators is seeking $750million for losses in production as a result of ‘‘reckless’’ management of the Murray-Darling Basin.

The nine irrigators lodged a class action in the NSW Supreme Court in May, claiming decisions made by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority led to them receiving zero general security water allocation and the region losing millions of dollars.

Southern Riverina Irrigators chair and Barooga farmer Chris Brooks said the meetings would give landholders the opportunity to hear and discuss the class action.

‘‘We believe this mismanagement led to the Murray Irrigation region having a zero water allocation while Dartmouth Dam was 90 per cent full,’’ Mr Brooks said.

‘‘It is vital that all landholders hear the merits of this case.

‘‘There has been a consistent process by various groups and local volunteers who have tried to negotiate and discuss issues with river operators for more than 20 years. But it has been to no avail.

‘‘During the same period many people have also unsuccessfully lobbied local state and federal members of parliament, in our attempts to make realistic and positive changes which help us obtain better reliability and a fair water allocation,’’ he said.

‘‘In every commercial situation I have been involved in, if you can’t negotiate with your counter party, and you can’t lobby politicians to intervene, the last choice is to use the judicial system to resolve your grievances.’’

Mr Brooks said he was confident the region had a long-term future, but it relied on everyone standing together, showing unity and pursuing the claim as an entire entity.

Meetings will be held on:

■Tuesday, June 11 at the Sportsmans Arms Hotel in Deniliquin at 7pm.

■Wednesday, June 12 at the Wakool Club at 5pm.

■Wednesday, June 12 at the Caldwell Hall at noon.

■Thursday, June 13 at Barooga Golf Club at 7pm.