The controversial Yanco Creek project can be reimagined, adjusted or withdrawn according to evidence given to a Senate Committee by the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
NSW Nationals Senator, Perin Davey said this evidence showed community concern can and must be taken seriously to ensure the projects deliver the right outcomes in the right place. “I have been speaking to Yanco Creek stakeholders for some time and I know the Yanco creek community, the farmers, the townsfolk of Jerilderie and all in between, have very significant concerns about the current design of the project,” Senator Davey said.
“It is high time we took these community concerns seriously. I was being told different things by different people on whether projects could be adjusted so I asked the responsible agencies directly.”
Senator Davey questioned the MDBA and the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment during the annual Senate Estimates and was told Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism can be modified and adapted to respond to issues raised by community.
“Some of the projects nominated by States sound like a good idea on paper, but no one knows better than the people who live there about whether the desk-top design will actually deliver expectations,” she said. “At Yanco the community have very good ideas, including other options downstream that may deliver better environmental outcomes which could open the door to withdraw that project and balance it out by bolstering a downstream project.
“The risk of not having SDL Adjustment Projects is a shortfall in water recovery and we do not want that to happen.
“But by the same token, we don’t want to force projects that have been poorly designed and won’t achieve the desired outcomes and that is what the community are telling us about the current design of the Yanco Weir and effluent creeks projects.”
Senator Davey said she was pleased the new MDBA Chair took her advice and toured the region including meeting with stakeholders on the Yanco Creek.
“The Department Deputy Secretary Lyn O’Connell who travelled with Sir Angus told Senate Estimates she had seen the Yanco site and heard the significant concerns of the community. “Now it has been confirmed that modifications will be accepted, I urge the State Government to sit down with the communities to re-work the project to find a better solution,” Senator Davey said. “It is time to focus on how we can modify projects to address community concerns, work around the obstacles and make progress.”