Blog | 11th Aug, 2010

But Snowy still shortchanged

The governments charged with returning water to the Snowy River have at last made a decision that will actually provide some flows for the river.

The Victorian, NSW and Commonwealth governments have reached an agreement to pay off the water debt in the ‘Mowamba Borrowings Account’, which has been holding up the return of water to the river for several years. For those like me whose head begins to hurt whenever they are confronted with the tangled politics of getting water into the Snowy, what it means is an extra 56 billion litres of water for the river over the next two years.

While it’s still a long way short of what governments have promised the Snowy, it’s a step in the right direction and the Victorian government is to be congratulated for taking the lead in the negotiations.

In other Snowy news, the Snowy River Alliance (SRA) has filed proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales against the NSW Water Administration Ministerial Corporation (who is the Minister for Water) over the Snowy Water Licence review. Louise Crisp, vice chairman of the SRA, says they were so fed up with the lack of progress in returning water to the Snowy that they were left with little choice other than to go to court.

The NSW government’s review of the Snowy Water Licence was over two years overdue and failed to take the advice of the Snowy Scientific Committee on environmental flows into account. SRA are requesting that the Supreme Court declare the NSW government’s invalid as it did not comply with the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act. SRA are claiming that consequently, the Licence variations given effect on 1 May are also invalid and should be set aside. 

Snowy River Alliance’s media release is available on their website. You can also read the ABC’s story ‘Court battle looms over Snowy River flows’ here, an article in The Weekly Times, and an ABC Q&A segment is available online.
The long battle to return flows to the Snowy continues and we wish the Snowy River Alliance well in their journey through the courts.