CEASE TO PUMP RULED OUT FOR LOWER HUNTER REGION
Plans to implement salinity-based cease to pump rules in several rivers in the Lower Hunter will not be included in the Hunter Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sharing Plan.
NSW Nationals Member for the Upper Hunter Dave Layzell, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin and Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said the NSW Government will not progress with cease to pump rules in the new plans after overwhelming community feedback highlighted concerns with the proposal.
“The Hunter is home to some of the most fertile land in the entire world and our farmers are the best in the business,” Mr Layzell said.
“Farmers are the best custodians of the environment and sustainable land managers. They have clearly demonstrated they have developed best practice in terms of managing the salinity levels in the Hunter River Tidal Pool, Wallis Creek Tidal Pool and Paterson River Tidal Pool.
“It is clear that following consultation with landholders they will be able to continue to manage their access to water without additional red tape.”
“Farmers have worked this land for generations and community feedback has indicated that the proposed cease to pump rules would be arbitrary and overbearing. The NSW Nationals proudly support a triple bottom-line approach in water and we will continue to take that approach.”
Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said The NSW Government has listened to the feedback from the community.
“When it comes to managing water, my view is healthy rivers, healthy communities and healthy farms,” Mr Anderson said.
”As part of a review of salinity levels across the region the Department of Planning and Environment undertook a study into alternative management practices. There was overwhelming opposition to the change, and as a result the proposed water sharing plan will not include any cease to pump rules in those rivers.
“The proposed changes would seriously undermine vegetable and dairy production in the Hunter, and would undermine the activities of the Tocal Agricultural College which is dedicated to training our next generation of farmers.
“We know that the agriculture industry is the backbone of the NSW economy and we will work with the sector to ensure it remains strong.”
NSW Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin welcomed the decision to not introduce new cease to pump rules as part of the plan.
“The agriculture sector is a significant employer in the Hunter region and is vital for our local economy. The NSW Government has listened to the concerns of the sector and we will not see it tied up in bureaucratic red tape,” Mr Martin said.
The proposed new cease to pump rules in terms of managing salinity levels in the Hunter River Tidal Pool, Wallis Creek Tidal Pool and Paterson River Tidal Pool have been ruled out of the Hunter Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sharing Plan for the Lower Hunter.
Existing cease to pump rules in other areas under the plan are still being considered.
Photo caption: NSW Lands and Water Minister Kevin Anderson and Upper Hunter MP Dave Layzell with Maitland farmer Stephen Osborn