Baird condemns the Darling River to death with $500 million panic pipeline

MEDIA RELEASE – 16 June 2016

The Greens NSW water spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today accused Premier Mike Baird of condemning the Darling River to death, by committing to a $500 million pipeline from the Murray River to supply Broken Hill, rather than spend money and create policies to revive the Darling River as Broken Hill’s water supply.

“This is a tragic day for the Darling River and Menindee Lakes.  Today Mike Baird has confirmed the worst fears of those living in Broken Hill and the far West.  Building this pipeline facilitates the Darling River being sucked dry by upstream irrigators without causing water problems for Broken Hill,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The National Party has always wanted to hand over more water from the Darling to cotton irrigation, and now they’ve convinced Mike Baird to lay down $500 million to make it happen without the headache of Broken Hill running out of water.

“Burning through a huge amount of money for a panic pipeline which will not solve the water crisis is the wrong way to go.  The government should be committing to policies and works that will revive the Darling River and make the Menindee Lakes more efficient.

“The Greens believe the answer is to revive the Darling River.  To implement policies to ensure surface water flows down the Darling from small and medium rain events, rather than having all the water taken by irrigators in Southern Queensland and NSW.

“The Greens believe the $500 million should instead be spent on infrastructure works to make the Menindee Lakes System more efficient, including raising Weir 32, installing a regulator between Lake Menindee and Lake Cawndilla, and buying back Cubbie Station or at least some of their water rights to return flows to the river.

“The death of the Darling River has been caused by human mismanagement.  Today’s announcement only facilitates more mismanagement to the detriment of Broken Hill, all those who appreciate and rely on the Darling River, and the environment.”


  • SO, Mr Baird – who’s getting the construction contract?

    Liked by 1 person

  • There seems to be no end to these ad hoc decisions by this government. Why doesn’t Baird just stand up and say he could not care LESS about the environment and just get it over with …. it is very clear that he has no interest in the future of our land beyond his own term in office. Thank you for doing everything you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Spot on Jeremy. This would seem to be the final nail in the coffin for the communities of the far west. The great Darling River and once tremendous Menindee Lakes will suffer because of this announcement.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Stephen Hegedus

    Politicians, they just don’t get it. A pipeline is not the answer, the answer is in Queensland. You idiots.


  • Much better idea, fire up the desalinisation plant in Sydney and make a pipe to Broken Hill, hell even further. We could have productive land where there was once desert. Inland Ocean? Thats my $500 million better spent.


  • Sounds like “#Baird needs to go ! The right decisions are not being made to preserve the Darling River. Hasn’t cotton been tried before? The amount of water for this project will kill off the Darling.


  • Water – Commodity Or A Right Of Life?
    May 24, 2016
    I don’t want to tell you things you know, nor do I want to waste your time.
    I do want to turn your head long enough to interest you in helping me take action on global water; the issue some say is the most likely lead to the next world war. World war or not, it seems obvious that over time a sort of civil war over water would definitely be a possibility in Australia if this issue is not kept on the table and worked out collectively. Lower Murray, Darling and South Australian farmers and communities are utterly dependant on natural river flows to the south. If corporate powers continue to insist on purchasing and taking these upstream flows to improve their bottom line, something is bound to break.
    (Can’t eat cotton!)
    The runaway train that is globally corporatised and industrialised capital is causing a situation where Australian water is being made into a commodity. Global industrialised capital is now realising that water is key to future profits for corporations and international shareholders.
    Today, the Darling River has been completely stopped from flowing past Burke by NSW government water regulators and irrigators. This action has created a 1,400-kilometre string of death pools for thousands of breeding Murray Cod. This absolute theft of natural river flow is now setting a precedent for water extraction by authorities and irrigators for the future. If they get away with it, they will be compelled by their bottom lines to try it again and again.
    Meanwhile back in reality, away from the fiscal fiasco, water is one of few things that all life on Earth has in common. All life on Earth depends on water to exist, without water there can be no life. “Not life as we know it.”
    For decades New South Wales state governments have been selling water rights and water extraction licences at an outrageous rate. These water licences are worth millions of dollars to the state government and the irony is that often, the water doesn’t seem to even be there. Sometimes the water seems to be sold twice.
    Water licences allow waters to be held back from river channels by dams or weirs or to be pumped directly from river channels and put into “holding dams” or “ring dams” (large areas encircled by an earth levy) for storage until needed. If ever needed.
    The wealth and affluence of some foreign and Australian farmer/landholders corporate or otherwise, is that after using tax deductions to create ring-dam infrastructure, and pumping water off stream, “just in case” they need it, this water will simply sit unused, evaporating, with the river having been robbed of vital flows. This extraction, holding and indulgent waste of vital river flows is impacting more and more on our wetlands, riverain and riparian habitats, not to mention the lack of flows to farmers, landholders and communities and tribal groups down stream.
    Once created water extraction licences can sit idle, sometimes for years until the water appears, or they can be taken off stream and traded to another part of the state, even onto a different river catchment. How is that possible? Is this a scam or what?!
    My opinion is that if ever Australia needed a Royal Commission into anything, it is our mismanagement of water. Truly it is just like Chinatown, the movie made by Roman Polanski starring Jack Nicholson. It is uncanny; there is even a Pomona in there.
    We must draw attention to, and understand better, the use and misuse of water in Australia.

    Mark Merritt – P.O. Box 30, Stuarts Point, NSW 2441, Phone 0427 571 770


  • I would like to see a copy of the environmental impact study for the pipeline, Thankyou


  • What type of pipeline would be used steel? Plastic? Fibre glass??


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