AS her fight continues to have a transparent water ownership register established, Member for Murray Helen Dalton says overwhelming opposition to her water register bill by politicians and lobby groups expressed at a Parliamentary inquiry is at odds with the general public.
“When 11,000 members of the public sign a petition for a water register, and all the powerful groups try and stop it, you know you are on the right track,” Mrs Dalton said.
A NSW Parliamentary inquiry into Mrs Dalton’s bill to force politicians to declare their water interests, and create a searchable online water register, held hearings last week.
Former National Party Water Ministers Kevin Humphries and Katrina Hodgkinson, current Water Minister Melinda Pavey, Griffith Mayor John Dal Broi, NSW Farmers and the NSW Irrigators Council were among those who appeared at the inquiry, Mrs Dalton said.
“All the above mentioned groups and politicians were united in their opposition to my bill.
“Some called it a waste of time. Others called it an invasion of privacy. But they all seem to want my bill to disappear.
A key claim of groups like NSW Farmers and the NSW Irrigators Council was that a water register would lead to Aussie Farm-style terrorist attacks on irrigators.
“This is absolute rubbish. I’m an irrigator. Anyone who walks past my farm already knows I own water,” Mrs Dalton said,
“A water register would expose the Sydney traders and foreign companies who own water. Not farmers.
“We already have to land register.’’
Mrs Dalton said some of the evidence given at the hearings was contradictory.
Water researcher Maryanne Slattery and Southern Riverina Irrigators Vice Chair Darcy Hare were among the few who expressed support for Mrs Dalton bill.
The inquiry will present recommendations to NSW Parliament on the bill in September.