NSW groundwater irrigators start class action

23rd November 2006Murray Valley ground water irrigators are leading a State-wide class action case against the NSW Government and its structural adjustment packages.

They’re fighting for “fair market value” compensation for water taken from them.

The irrigators are hoping to get leave of appeal to take their case to the Federal High Court.

They’re proceeding with their class action on the grounds that recently announced structural adjustment goes no-where near reflecting the current value of their water entitlements.

NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Ian Macdonald, said he was unable to comment on any legal action.

Chair of the Murray Valley Groundwater Irrigators Association and class action spokesman, Greg Sandford, is making contact with groundwater users in other regions to get more irrigators on board.

He said it was important farmers everywhere united to take a stand against the government for allegedly taking taking water unfairly.

He said the class-action could represent as many as 1000 irrigators.

“What the government has offered us is compensation for what we consider high security water – it’s ridiculous” Mr Sandford said.

At Corowa, another Murray Valley irrigator, Alan Arnold, said previously he had 7700Ml groundwater entitlement across four properties and has now been cut back to 1900Ml.

He will only receive about $120,000 for those losses.

“But the market value of that water will fetch between $2.4 and $4.5 million in the short term,” Mr Arnold said.

* Mr Sandford is appealing to other irrigators interested in registering to call him on (03) 5882 5977 and leave a message with their name, bore licence number, and the megalitres they’ve lost.

SOURCE: Extract from story published in The Land , NSW, November 23.

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