Labor proposal garners support

Thursday, 7th September, 2017

By By Daniel Stringer

Broken Hill water activists say they would support the replacement of the Menindee pipeline as an alternative to the government’s proposed pipeline to the Murray.

During his recent visit to the Far West, Opposition Leader Luke Foley said if he were to win the 2019 election he would peruse the replacement of the current Menindee Pipeline.

The idea has been welcomed by water activists, with Vice President of the Darling River Action Group, Darryn Clifton, saying it is a better solution than what the State Government has put forward. 

“Obviously replacing the existing pipeline, which is beyond its use by date, is a better option than building a new one,” Mr Clifton told the BDT.

“Times have changed but the system is still there and it is still capable of doing the job required.

“The pipeline is ageing and any ageing infrastructure has to be replaced at some time.

“That should be what the government is perusing, not a $500 million new pipeline.”

The alternative solution was also supported by fellow water activist and Broken Hill Councillor, Tom Kennedy, who said he would support the idea in his position on council.

“As a councillor I would for sure support the replacement of the Menindee Pipeline over the current proposal,” Clr Kennedy told the BDT.

“It would have to come with other guarantees and the other guarantees would have to include that the future of the Menindee Lakes are made a priority,” Clr Kennedy said. 

Replacing the existing pipeline would come at a cost of $180 million, which is still significantly cheaper than the Government’s proposal. Clr Kennedy says utilising the Menindee pipeline would not only save the community money, but it would also ensure the future of the Menindee Lakes. 

“The $500 million pipeline will come at a significant cost to the Broken Hill community and a cost that the community can’t afford.

“It would be nice to have water from the Murray, but not at that cost and not at the expense of the Menindee Lakes.

“Without a doubt replacing the Menindee pipeline will ensure the future of the Menindee Lakes, as it will mean the lakes will always be needed to supply Broken Hill with water.”

While utilising the Menindee pipeline may be the preferred option among many in the Broken Hill community, Clr Kennedy says the government is not likely to abandon its current plan. 

“They are definitely getting ready to start construction on the new pipeline. 

“The reality is a lot of effort has gone into this project and it has been on the agenda for probably 10-12 years. 

“So it is not something that the government and the bureaucracy are going to give up easily.”