Renewed efforts for NSW water register

By Jamie Salter

Community efforts to achieve transparency in water ownership are continuing through an online petition to establish a NSW water register.

The push for a water register recently failed in parliament and Speak Up chair Shelley Scoullar said she was frustrated by the NSW Government’s inability to compromise.

“It was disappointing that politicians were unable to come together and develop a register that will protect our farming interests,” Mrs Scoullar said.

“We think those who signed the original petition would feel let down by NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey; hopefully she will get a clear indication of what people want with this new petition.”

The organisation's original petition had attracted 11,000 signatures.

Mrs Scoullar said water transparency was supposed to be embedded in legislation as part of the National Water Initiative 2004.

“This was supposed to have been done by 2006, but 14 years later we are still waiting,” she said.

“It seems the government is more concerned with protecting a minority than following the will of the majority.”

Mrs Scoullar said concerns an effective water register would give water brokers access to volumes of water currently held in accounts were redundant.

“Regardless, to overcome any concerns we have included in our petition that the register must ‘protect personal phone numbers, emails or residential addresses of individuals with water entitlements as per the Australian Privacy Act 1988’,” she said.

To be debated in parliament, Speak Up will need to gather 20,000 signatures in 12 weeks.

“I want to achieve that well within the time frame so it is made clear to the NSW Government and NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey that this issue needs to be resolved,” Mrs Scoullar said.

The petition can be found on the NSW Parliament website or on the Speak Up website at: www.speakup4water.com