General News

Williamson fights government plans to discriminate between city and country water users

A planned NSW Labor Government law that would protect water security in Sydney but not in regional New South Wales is unacceptable to the Richmond and Clarence valleys, local Nationals MP for Clarence Richie Williamson has told State Parliament on Thursday.

Labor’s Constitution Amendment Bill 2023 guarantees public ownership of the Sydney Water Corporation and the Hunter Water Corporation, but not NSW Water and local government water supplies, which serve the regions.

“New South Wales should not have a two-tiered water supply set-up. What is good for the city should be good for the bush,” Mr Williamson said in the Legislative Assembly.

“It does not matter where the rain falls; it will all end up either in a river or in a pipe. I acknowledge that big cities should have their water constitutionally protected—but so should regional areas.”

The new MP said that when he was the Mayor of Clarence Valley, local government had to fight off privatisation throughout New South Wales under previous Labor State Governments.

“Back then, I stood up for regional water supply schemes, and I am willing to do it again,” Mr Williamson said.

He said he had recently held discussions with the Chairman and General Manager of Rous Water and the new Water Minister in a meeting he described as ‘excellent and productive’.

“But those in the bush need the same safeguards as their city cousins. Why should the water flowing out of a tap in Casino not have the same protections as the water flowing out of a tap in Sydney, Wollongong or Newcastle?” the MP said.