Twelve months ago I caused discussion and debate by suggesting the State Government update the XPT rail service.
I stated that the XPT trains were old and outdated, our medical services centralised in Sydney and I wanted to see a move to replace the XPT by transitioning Rex Airlines into a branch of the NSW Public Transportation network.
Well, with the State Government clean out of cash, contracts for the controversial stadiums up in the air and the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum unlikely to proceed. And with many other projects being scrapped by the day, I think the State Government missed a golden opportunity.
Unfortunately, what it now means for a vast number in regional NSW, is that we are left to rely on slow trains (which don't stay on the tracks) and the prospect of no regional airline carrier.
Hopefully, my suggestions won't be forgotten as we move out of these unprecedented times. NSW definitely needs to rethink and renew regional public transportation for the future.
Greg Adamson, Griffith
DRAFT IGNORES FEEDBACK
As one of a small number of irrigator representatives on the Stakeholder Advisory Panel (SAP) that has been involved in reviewing the NSW Murray/Lower Darling Water Sharing Plans (WSP) that will be used as the base to develop the mandatory MDBA Water Resource Plan, I would like to publicly record my grave concerns about the process
Last October the first draft of the WSP was released for comment. As a SAP member I was surprised by the extent of wording changes in clauses that clearly preference the environment over any other water use. It is not a balanced and equitable plan that will provide any great certainty for consumptive water users into the future as it's currently written. It is an environmental plan with consistent prioritisation of the environment over all social and economic objectives whilst being supposedly designed for equitable water sharing between all users.
Confirmation of the insidious move to incorporate unrealistic aspirational and unilateral change to water sharing to the detriment of consumptive users was confirmed with the language used and the clear references for the need to reserve more water for the environment.
This environmental prioritisation is reflected in numerous amended provisions that arguably change the intent of NSW Murray water sharing arrangements, compared with previous plans.
Following public exhibition of the draft the department received many submissions that highlighted community concerns and made many suggested alterations to better reflect a more equitable distribution of water between all water users in our valley.
The second draft has recently been released and it is with great disappointment that many of the community's concerns have been ignored and in fact protection for E-water has become more embedded at the expense of general security reliability.
Even though SAP members had the opportunity to discuss their issues with the relevant NSW department staff during a five hour teleconference that was followed up with another three hour teleconference, I have absolutely no ownership of the plan that has been presented as the majority of our recommendations and suggestions have not been included.
We must remember that these plans will be in place for 10 years, so are extremely important for this region's future prosperity. It is essential that we get them right.
Throughout this process it appears we have a bureaucracy that is prepared to sacrifice the NSW Murray general security entitlement and yet again impact on GS reliability.
As Australia, and the rest of the world, heads into the unknown as a consequence of COVID-19 we need to accept that our lives are changing. Every effort must be made to protect communities from the social and economic fallout and enhance our ability to grow local food and fibre by equitably sharing water.
There has never been a better time to stop further implementation of the Basin Plan and develop community led Water Sharing Plans and the associated Water Resource Plans. The Basin Plan needs fixing so it effectively serves our communities and the environment; that is not happening at present.
I am sure the remaining $4.5 billion (for the Basin Plan) would be gratefully welcomed by small businesses who are struggling to survive. Stop further implementation of the Basin Plan and help communities to develop a united strategy to move forward.
John Lolicato, Barham
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