The Sydney Water Catchment Management Amendment (Board Members) Bill removes mandatory representation from the Nature Conservation Council, the NSW Farmers Association and local government on the Sydney Catchment Authority Board.
The Water board can have up to eight members giving the Minister ample discretion to establish a board with a broad range of expertise.
There are strong community concerns that the bill is the result of mining industry lobbying because the Sydney Catchment Authority has raised concerns with longwall mining and coal seam gas exploration on its land.
Mining can have devastating effects on water through clearing, pollution, destruction of supportive ecosystems and loss of water through riverbed cracks. Rehabilitation of waterways has had little success.
The Sydney Catchment Authority supplies water to over four and a half million people and the Board must work first and foremost to protect its integrity through the environmental sustainability of the local ecosystem. I opposed the bill.