Water

SRI to hold meetings to update irrigators on MDBA class action

By Rodney Woods

Southern Riverina Irrigators will hold meetings for NSW general security water holders to update them on the class action against the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and urge more of them to sign up.

SRI chairman Chris Brooks, who is the spokesperson on the class action, said the group of irrigators were claiming that the MDBA was negligent in the management of water during drought.

“We have been saying that they cost us an average of $1000 a megalitre in profits — times that by 750,000 megalitres/per year over two years, which we estimated our allocation would have been.

“So that's $1.5 billion we are claiming in damages, if we can prove they were negligent.”

While the class action was classified as open when it began, once it hits the court, the classification changes to a closed action, meaning only those who have signed up will benefit, if they are successful.

“The reasons for the meetings are to explain the process, elaborate on the evidence, and it is the last opportunity to encourage irrigators to sign up to be part of the claim,” Mr Brooks said.

“A lot have already signed up, but a hell of a lot aren't.

“We are confident that we have the evidence and we encourage anyone with a NSW general water allocation to get off their arse and sign the single-page document.

“It doesn't cost them anything and we're suing the MDBA for incompetence and to stop them from doing it again.

“Those one-page notices will be at each event and the solicitors will be at the events to answer any queries they may have.

“It would be a hollow victory if we only get money back for every second person.”

The meetings will be held at:

● Finley on Tuesday, September 8 at the Finley RSL Club from 3 pm;

● Berrigan on Tuesday, September 8 at the Berrigan Football Netball Club from 7 pm;

● Bunnaloo on Wednesday, September 9 at the Bunnaloo Hall from 3 pm;

● Wakool on Wednesday, September 9 at the Wakool & District Services Memorial Sports Club from 7 pm; and

● Deniliquin on Thursday, September 10 at the Deniliquin RSL Club from 3 pm.

If you are unable to attend, but wish to sign up, call Andrew Hicks on 0458 235 252, Andrew Kelly on 5885 2392 or Darcy Hare on 0437 794 723.