NSW Premier Mike Baird promised to restore confidence in the State Government after being elected unopposed as Barry O’Farrell’s successor; but can he do so?. The proposed Water NSW Bill that will abolish the Sydney Catchment Authority may hinder this goal. The plan is to create an entity to be called Water NSW. According to Isabel Mcintosh of the Protect Sydney’s Water action group:
“communities in NSW are concerned that the corporatizing of water management will remove government accountability for the drinking water of 4.5 million people. “SCA has been a steward for a clean, healthy drinking water supply for Sydney’s population. The loss of its specialist expertise when it comes to Sydney’s catchments and dam infrastructure will weaken this protective oversight. It also moves responsibility for damage from approved long-wall mining in our catchments one step further from the Premier. “Sydney is the only city in the world where mining is allowed in publicly owned water catchments. “Longwall mining is cracking river beds and damaging precious swamps. A coal seam gas licence also blankets the special areas. “The SCA has opposed mining activities in the Sydney water catchments in the past in the name of water protection. “The Sydney catchments are already damaged by coal mining, losing three billion litres a year from flow diversions caused by mining, and companies have been prosecuted for pollution of rivers and streams. “Recently the SCA investigated the possibility for all areas surrounding the reservoirs to be legislated as exclusion zones, but this was ignored by government. If the SCA lacked authority to protect Sydney’s drinking water catchments from longwall mining expansion, or even to secure changes to mining plans, what hope have the people of Sydney that a corporation will? The corporate role is to act in the interest of their shareholders, not the common good. A resource as important as the drinking water of greater Sydney should be governed and regulated in the public interest. To do otherwise is neglect “.
“Protect Sydney’s Water” is an alliance of more than 50 community groups from across Sydney, the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Blue Mountains that are calling on the NSW Government to protect Sydney drinking water catchments from destructive mining practices. More information can be found at :
The NSW Greens of course do not support fracking and certainly not the pollution in water catchment areas. If you want to show anti-fracking sentiment- Greens MPs Jeremy Buckingham and Jan Barham have printed bumper stickers and leaflets to promote campaigns. They are free to those who can put them to good use.. Use this link if you would like a free bumper sticker: