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Senate calls for delay in Snowy review

The Senate today passed an Australian Greens motion calling on the Commonwealth to demand NSW delays finalisation of the Snowy Water License Review while environmental water releases are addressed.

"This must be done to avoid the risk of unnecessary compensation," Australian Greens Water Spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"Delaying the review by six months will allow the Snowy Scientific Committee to review the environmental benefits of permitting releases from Mowamba Weir, in order to make a decision on this issue during the time of the Review.

"If this does not happen, we face the real risk that compensation from the public purse may need to be paid to Snowy Hydro down the track.

The Snowy Scientific Committee's report, Adequacy of environmental releases to the Snowy River identified in October 2008 the crucial environmental contribution flows from the Mowamba weir could provide to the Snowy River, highlighting the pressing need for major flow increases in the next 1-2 years.

"The three-year delay in making a decision on Mowamba proposed by the NSW government would lock in the continuing degradation of the Snowy River and result in significant environmental losses.

"The long-term survival of the Snowy River depends on an effective Snowy Water Licence that delivers the best environmental outcomes. These decisions must be made during the current Review to avoid significant environmental and economic costs.

"The Senate today backed our motion noting the failure of the NSW Government to establish the Snowy River Scientific Committee in a timely fashion and calling for this delay.

"The Commonwealth Government must now insist NSW does the right thing to prevent bigger problems and large compensations claims later," she concluded.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0417 174 302

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