Media Release from Cotton Australia and NSW Irrigators Council

4 October 2013

Water Users Offer to Break CSG Deadlock
Cotton Australia and the New South Wales Irrigators Council are seeking a meeting with Premier Barry O'Farrell to offer solutions on coal seam gas in the State.
Irrigators Council Chief Executive Officer Andrew Gregson says that agricultural water users were greatly disappointed with new planning structures announced this week, but that solutions remain available.
"In a meeting earlier this year, the Premier asked us to come up with solutions and to keep talking to them. Whilst the process announced this week simply isn't acceptable, we have developed solutions and we don't believe it is too late to incorporate them.
Sahil Prasad, Policy Officer for Coal Seam Gas and Mining at Cotton Australia, says significant exclusions zone have been established in the newly released process but that they don't apply to agricultural water users in the main.
"If you live in a town, breed horses or grow wine in the Hunter Valley, the new process has catered to at least some of your demands. If you irrigate crops across NSW, though, you're still faced with significant problems from mines and gas.
The groups are seeking comprehensive baseline data on water and soil; critical industry cluster status for irrigation farms; and fulfilment of an election commitment to introduce a binding Aquifer Interference Regulation providing capacity for the Minister for Water to protect water resources absolutely.
A three page position paper (here) from NSWIC provides further details.
"We recognise a need for the NSW Government to balance competing demands. We believe that our three requirements will provide a strong, sustainable and fair basis for agriculture, mining and gas to move forward. At the same time, we'll offer the Premier a compromise in the meeting - accept any two and we can all move forward,"
For further information:
Andrew Gregson                       Sahil Prasad
0416 884468                              02 9669 5222                                                     Approved:        RS/TG
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