In July 2022, then NSW Environment Minister Griffin gave concurrence to changes to three NSW Water Sharing Plans in the Gwydir, Border Rivers and Macquarie-Wambuul Catchments that included rules on how floodplain harvesting would be managed.
When rivers levels dipped below certain heights at specific gauges, floodplain harvesting of water has to stop. These measurements are called flow targets.
Minister Griffin’s own department, the Environment and Heritage Group advised the Minister not to sign off on the water sharing plans, as the targets proposed by Nationals Water Minister Kevin Anderson are so low, they are not consistent with the objectives of the Water Management Act that requires critical human needs and the environment to be prioritised over irrigation.
Despite writing to Minister Anderson to say he would not be signing off on the Plans with the extremely poor targets, Minister Griffin did succumb to the pressure from the Nationals and signed them off.
The Environment and Heritage Group developed a set of preferred flow targets for these water sharing plans. These documents were obtained through a Parliamentary Order for Papers. Here they are.