Tick and Flick

Tuesday, 16th May, 2017

By Daniel Stringer

WaterNSW is calling for members of the community to represent Broken Hill on a committee for the Murray to Broken Hill pipeline, however it seems they may struggle to find willing participants.

Expressions of interest are now open to both community members and businesses to be part of the Local Representative Committee for the Murray to Broken Hill Pipeline. 

WaterNSW has already started approaching stakeholders in Broken Hill to join the committee, however many have turned down the offer.

Mark Hutton is a member of the Darling River Action Group and says he has received an invitation from WaterNSW to partake in the committee, an invitation he turned down. 

“They sent me an invitation and gave me a phone call asking if I was interested in joining the committee,” Mark Hutton told the BDT. 

“I respectfully declined their invitation purely for the fact that we are opposed to the pipeline so why would I want to be on a committee about it,” Mr Hutton said.

The committee is designed to be a link between the community and WaterNSW during the planning and construction process of the $500m pipeline.

Mr Hutton says that he can’t see the committee having the power to make significant decisions.

“I don’t think this committee would have any power to change anything, so what’s the point.

“The committee is nothing more than a ploy for them to say that they have consulted with the community around the pipeline.” 

Mr Hutton isn’t the only water activist in the area to have this view, as Menindee resident Karen Page says she sees it as pointless if the committee isn’t going to take into consideration the Menindee Lakes. 

“The thing is for me, it is senseless being on a committee if they don’t want to talk about the lakes,” Mrs Page said.

“I don’t see why anybody would be interested in being on a committee that only wanted to talk about the pipeline, maybe only the mines because they have an invested interest,” she said.

“The only committee I would be interested in joining is one on the Lower Darling below Bourke, because that is where we need to focus our attention,” she said. 

Kate Thomson is the project manager behind the pipeline and is in charge of putting together the committee.

She says the purpose of the committee is to provide the community with consultation during the construction process.

“It is about us being informed on the community’s opinions and reactions to the pipeline throughout the course of construction,” Ms Thomson said.

“The main purpose is to provide consultation around the construction of the project and how best to conduct construction,” she said.

“I think this is the best way to go about it and to keep the community involved and informed throughout the process,” she said. 

Ms Thomson also says that WaterNSW is seeking applicants from different avenues within the community, not just those who support the project.

“We are looking for representatives from all aspects of the community and we are looking to get applicants with different opinions.

“This isn’t about us just getting people who are in support of the project, we definitely want to get people who are in opposition to create that balance.” 

Applications for the committee are open now and close May 26, expressions of interest can be sent to brokenhillpipeline@waternsw.com.au.

The committee is proposed to meet every three months during the course of the planning and construction process.