Protecting our water supplies
Whilst government has the ability to change laws when they don’t get their way in the courts it is often a backward step for the environment and the community.
This seems the case with the Berejiklian government’s plans to weaken the laws providing for the environmental protection of NSW’s water catchments.
A Supreme Court ruling recognised that expansion of the Springvale coal mine near Lithgow must be assessed using the pre development water quality as a baseline – not a baseline derived from the already polluting mine as the government had done in its approval of the mine’s expansion.
The saline waters from Springvale mine flow into the Coxs River, a major tributary of Warragamba Dam supplying the clean drinking water for Sydney’s five million residents.
The government’s response to weaken the laws in response to the court decision is disappointing.
It seems ludicrous for the NSW Planning Minister, our local member Anthony Roberts, to use the stunt of bringing a lump of coal into parliament to initiate the changes to the planning laws that protect precious drinking water.
The current and future supply of clean drinking water for Sydney’s residents would seem a fundamental duty of a responsible government, especially a government that has pushed population growth in Sydney.
Reliable power supply and clean water access are separate issues.
Weak environmental protection of vital drinking water supplies does not seem a sensible government decision.