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Coastal Harvestable Rights - motion

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
11 October 2023

I oppose the motion by the Opposition. From the outset, this exemplifies how Coalition members do water and how they did policy for the 12 years they were in government. They seeing water falling, hear what their mates are asking for and put in place measures to please those mates. That is basically what the coastal harvestable rights policy was. It rained quite a bit one year and there was a lot of water after the drought on the east coast. Some National Party figures like the member for Coffs Harbour, Gurmesh Singh, or Chris Gulaptis saw all of the water that would usually go to beautiful coastal wetlands, fish nurseries and the beautiful rivers in a period of drought. They said, "No, let us capture more of that." As the Minister said, they did that without any proper assessment or review. They said, "Let us just put the limit up to 30 per cent because blueberry farmer Gurmesh Singh wants it at 30 per cent." That is essentially what happened. Read the media releases—read the local news about that time. He delivered for the mid North Coast. I also understand—and this is interesting—that when the decision was made by former Minister Melinda Pavey for Gurmesh Singh, it was implemented by former Minister Kevin Anderson.

The Hon. Wes Fang: Point of order: The member has made an imputation against a member in the other place. If she is going to do so, I ask that she do so by way of substantive motion. The former Minister did not do something in relation to a former member. I ask that Ms Cate Faehrmann withdraw that assertion.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Does the member wish to respond to the point of order?

Ms CATE FAEHRMANN: I withdraw the assertion that former Minister Melinda Pavey did that specifically for Gurmesh Singh—although he was very happy about it at the time. Landholders were informed that if they increased their harvestable rights above the previous 10 per cent limit, they would be required to resize, remove or obtain a license for their dam if the 30 per cent limit was determined to be unsustainable following assessment. Only 12 landholders have notified the Department of Planning and Environment of their intention to increase their dams to 30 per cent. There are only 12 of them. I support what the Government is doing. Good on the Minister for bringing the limit back to 10 per cent. The Greens oppose the motion.




(1)That this House notes that:

(a)the Government has reduced harvestable rights in coastal draining catchments from 30 per cent to 10 per cent;

(b)the former Government's policy of 30 per cent harvestable rights in coastal areas increased water security for coastal farmers and landholders; and

(c)under the previous Government's policy, landholders needed to notify the Department of Planning and Environment before taking up the option to expand their harvestable right dam capacity above the previous 10 per cent limit and that this was to keep track of the growth in harvestable rights dams and ensure water was managed appropriately.

(2)That this House calls on the Government to reinstate 30 per cent harvestable rights in coastal areas.

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
11 October 2023


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