Proof Costa doesn't care
Friday, 13th August, 2010
The people of Wilcannia have been treated with disrespect from the state's water minister and it would cost the government votes, DRAG said.
The Darling River Action Group said it didn't believe that NSW Water Minister Phillip Costa had read a letter it sent to him which contained a petition and 500 signatures, most of the 800-strong town.
The petition called for the relocation of the Wilcannia weir from its current location of upstream near to the hospital to downstream below the bridge.
It hinged its case on the positive affects it would have in the town, including employment and tourism opportunities and community morale.
The letter and petition was tabled into Parliament by local MP John Williams last month but the response, received by DRAG yesterday, showed blatant disregard to the community's livelihood.
"From the letter it would seem that the Wilcannia weir is far too insignificant to warrant a decent reply," chairman Mark Hutton said.
"He basically hasn't even bothered to read the letter - he's just treating the Wilcannia people with disrespect.
"I expected a reasonable representation for the people of Wilcannia (not) blatant disregard to the livelihoods of the people of Wilcannia and surrounds."
Mr Costa's response said that the construction of new or raised weirs was contrary to the NSW Government's Weirs policy.
But Mr Hutton said petition didn't call for either construction of a new weir or elevating the weir.
"(Minister Costa) has basically said that he would be standing by the NSW Weirs policy," he said.
"It's not a new weir or a raised weir - just a relocation and refurbishment of an old weir."
Mr Hutton said the decision would cost NSW Labor votes.
"I don't like to get into the politics of things but I would say that Mr Costa and the NSW Government would have lost a lot of votes form the people in the Far West," he said.
But the DRAG said it would not give up and will now look for federal government help.
"We'll never give up, never give in," Mr Hutton said.
"I will write back to him and ask for a more detailed reply instead of just quoting from the weirs policy.
"We've sent a letter to Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley (to) see if we can do something through the federal government.
"I might just send it to the prime minister and see what happens."