Government opposes motion to build the Wilcannia weir

MEDIA RELEASE – 21 November 2014

The Greens NSW water spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today condemned the Baird Government for opposing a motion that called on the government to fund a new weir for the town of Wilcannia, saying they were neglecting the basic needs of people in Outback NSW, particularly Aboriginal communities.

“The Greens moved this motion in parliament to put the issue of the need to build a new weir for Wilcannia downstream of town on the political agenda in Sydney,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“For over ten years successive government have failed to act on the issue of moving the weir, despite the fact the project would make a big difference to the people of Wilcannia.

“The disinterest and neglect of Outback towns such as Wilcannia is demonstrated by the fact the government opposed this motion being passed by formal business yesterday.  The government should state exactly what they found objectionable in the motion?

“The Greens want to see a new downstream weir for Wilcannia built in 2015.  We want justice for the Badrkindji people.   I am going to be on Water Minister Kevin Humphries case from now, until the election and beyond, until we get action on the weir project,” he said.

MOTION: A new weir for Wilcannia

  1. Mr Buckingham to move—
  2. That this House notes that:

(a) life expectancy of males in Wilcannia, New South Wales is 37.5 years, and for women is

42 years of age,

(b) this is a matter of deep shame for our entire community, state and nation,

(c) the worst life expectancy of any nation on earth is Sierra Leone at 42 years of age,

(d) an assured and high quality water supply for the people of Wilcannia and for the

Barkintji people is essential to their health, economic, social, environmental, cultural and

personal wellbeing,

(e) the Darling River adjacent to Wilcannia is an integral part of recreation and fishing

activities for that community,

(f) the town of Wilcannia is now on water restriction and sourcing its water from emergency

water bores, and that this water is intermittent and of very poor quality,

(g) the Wilcannia community has been calling for the construction of a new weir for nearly

40 years,

(h) that the current weir is in a poor condition and located upstream from the town, meaning

that in dry conditions the Darling River is a dry ditch running through the town,

(i) the construction of a new weir, downstream from the town is supported by the Murdi

Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation, Wilcannia Community Working Party and the

Central Darling Regional Council, and

(j) that a new weir downstream of the town will create a weir pool running through the town

for recreation, drinking, fishing and cultural activities.

  1. That this House calls on the Government to:

(a) immediately begin the process of planning and constructing a new weir in Wilcannia,

(b) immediately consult with the Wilcannia community on the construction of a new weir

and delivery of an assured and quality water supply, and

(c) commit funding for the construction of a new downstream weir to commence as soon as

engineering plans are finalised.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

Video of the motion being put on the notice paper is below

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