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Legal action looms over water sharing plans

Harriet Alexander Sydney Morning Herald

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Floodplain graziers and environmental groups are considering legal action against the NSW government if it signs off on controversial water sharing plans, arguing the plans do not adequately take into account the needs of downstream users and the environment.

The Australian Floodplain Association, Macquarie Marshes Environmental Landholders Association and Inland Rivers Network have not ruled out litigation in the Land and Environment Court or the Federal Court if the plans are not amended to more evenly share the pain of a drier climate.

NSW water officials knew decades of unmeasured floodplain harvesting by irrigators was illegal

Kerry Brewster - Guardian

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New South Wales water officials have acknowledged that decades of unregulated and unmeasured floodplain harvesting by irrigators was illegal, the minutes of recent meetings show.

At a January meeting, a week before the first drenching rains in northern NSW, members of a senior government water group discussed the legal implications of irrigators harvesting floodwaters, a widespread but unregulated method that accounts for up to a third of the water used by operators in the northern part of the Murray-Darling Basin.

The practice of irrigators collecting floodwaters using banks and levees to divert the water into large storages and dams has been blamed for contributing to declining flows further down the Murray-Darling River system. The 2018 South Australian royal commission described floodplain harvesting as “one of the most significant threats to water security in the Northern Murray-Darling Basin to both licence holders and downstream states”.

COVID-19 NSW small business grant criteria questioned in light of business downturn from drought

ABC News

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Peter Nash has run a shoe shop in Broken Hill for 45 years and has endured countless droughts and the closure of mines, but nothing has come close to the economic stress of COVID-19.

The Federal Government's 'JobKeeper' scheme is helping keep him afloat but he is angry his business did not qualify for a New South Wales Government small business grant. 

"Unfortunately, our downturn at the beginning of April was 72 per cent and they have a benchmark of 75 per cent," he said.

"I started the application but got booted out so to speak."

The sum of $10,000 is available to businesses who have experienced a loss of 75 per cent in income because of COVID-19.

Strike Force Trawler detectives charge man over online child procurement

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A man has been charged following an investigation by Strike Force Trawler detectives into alleged online child procurement.

In February this year, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crime Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) began engaging online with a man from the state’s north west.

Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 13-year-old girl and engaged in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform on the child and sent sexually explicit material.

Following extensive investigations, strike force detectives arrested a 52-year-old man at Walgett about 3.30pm yesterday (Wednesday 27 May 2020).

A short time later, officers executed a search warrant at a home at Lightning Ridge and seized mobile phones and electronic storage devices.

Louis Dreyfus takes lead role in Namoi Cotton marketing partnership

Farm Weekly

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Drought-weakened Namoi Cotton has re-jigged its marketing joint venture with multinational commodities giant Louis Dreyfus Company, effectively giving its partner control of day-to-day management of Namoi's trading and marketing and warehousing activities.

In what is expected to be the last in a six-month run of sweeping restructuring and staff shedding actions at the NSW-Queensland ginning and marketing company, the latest Namoi business shakeup aims to bolster the trading business's financial capacity to weather volatile cotton and currency markets.

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