Media release: 4 April 2012
The O'Farrell government is stripping the Sydney Catchment Authority
Board of key environmental and community representatives in an effort to
crush differing views and monopolise decisions on water management,
according to Greens MP John Kaye.
Dr John Kaye said: "Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson is
purging the key stakeholders from the board in order to pursue her own
"This is pure politics. Managing 16,000 square kilometres of catchment
land requires the highest level of input from the environment movement,
farmers and the local communities.
"Eradicating the Nature Conservation Council, the Farmers Association
and a representative of local councils from the Board may serve the
agenda of the O'Farrell anti-green government but it will deny the SCA
the ability to make balanced decisions.
"The Nature Conservation Council has a long and successful history of
representation on the SCA board and other public bodies. This is just
another example of the O'Farrell government's profound hostility to the
environment and the movement that strives to protect it.
"Arguments about appointing board members on a merit-based system is a
smokescreen for Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson to
continue her attack on the environment and the people seeking to protect
"Under the current arrangements, she has up to five positions on the
board that she can appoint on the basis of their skills and experience
or to give the community an opportunity to nominate.
"The assumption that the environmentalist, farmers and local government
representatives do not have appropriate expertise is an insult that
exposes the Minister's real agenda," Dr Kaye said.
For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455
The Sydney Water Catchment Management Amendment (Board members) Bill
2012 would exclude from the board of the Sydney Catchment Authority
(SCA) the nominees of
* the Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC),
* the NSW Farmers Association, and
* an elected councillor from a council in the catchment area.
The SCA "manages and protects Sydney's drinking water catchments and
catchment infrastructure, and supplies bulk water to its customers,
including Sydney Water and a number of local councils."
This includes "a total of 21 storage dams (11 major dams), that hold
more than 2.5 million megalitres of water. Water for these dams is
collected from five primary catchment areas, occupying 16,000 square
The catchment areas include 9,050 square km of the Warragamba
The legislation is expected to be before the NSW parliament later this
week or when it sits again in early May.
Board members whose positions are to be abolished
John Asquith is the Nature Conservation Council of NSW Board nominee.
He is Chairman of the Community Environment Network and a member of the
Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority Board.
Mr Asquith is a member of the Hunter National Parks and Wildlife
Service Advisory Committee, and has been a trustee of the NSW
Environmental Trust, and a member of the NSW Bushfire Coordinating
Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering and a Master of Arts.
Mr Asquith is a member of the Board's Audit and Risk Committee, and
Asset Management Committee.
Larry Whipper is Deputy Mayor of Wingecarribee Shire Council and is
currently in his third term as a Councillor. He is a strong
environmental advocate and has served as a member of the Robertson
Environment Protection Society (REPS) since 1992. Larry helped establish
Wingecarribee Shire Council's Environment Committee and successfully
advocated for an environment levy that has improved environmental
protection and restoration in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment since
He is a councillor representative on the Hawkesbury-
Government Advisory Group. He also served as a member of the
Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Board from 2002 to 2003, and as
Chair of the Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Authority
Establishment Team until May 2004. Between July 2006 and November 2007,
he was a councillor representative on the Upper Nepean Groundwater
Community Reference Group.
Mr. Larry Whipper was appointed to the Board as the new local
government representative effective 11 June 2009.
Kenneth Wheelwright is the NSW Farmers Association Board nominee. He
manages a grazing property on the upper reaches of the Wollondilly River
and has an active interest in developing sustainable, regenerative and
profitable farm management practices. He is also a director on the
Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Authority Board.
Mr Wheelright holds a Bachelor of Rural Science from the University of
New England, a Bachelor of Business from Charles Sturt University, and
has trained in holistic management.
Mr Wheelwright is Chair of the Board's Catchments and Water Quality