‘Get off your backsides, we’re in the middle of a drought’: Ben takes on council for water
The area around Walgett in regional NSW is in a crippling water crisis and a million-dollar bore – which taxpayers have already paid for – it yet to be built.
North-west of Walgett is 10 big farming properties, who have all run out of water.
In 2016, in the small neighbouring town of Cumborah, taxpayers paid $946,000 to Walgett Shire Council to build a bore.
But three years after the money was handed over, the bore still hasn’t been dug.
And even when the bore is built, only the town’s residents can access it, not neighbouring farmers.
“All the council or NSW Water have to do is build the bloody thing and tick a box to change the license from ‘town use’ to ‘town and agricultural use’,” says Ben Fordham.
One of the families stuck in strife is Jamie and Gina Warden, who Ben has consistently spoken to about the plight faced by farmers in drought.
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Along with their neighbours, they’re willing to pay to build the pipes to access the bore.
But Walgett Council isn’t budging and the state government won’t step in, claiming it’s a council problem.
Gina tells Ben there’s no excuse.
“We’re taxpayers and we pay that money and the money was allocated for that purpose three years ago.
“Get off your backsides – we’re in the middle of a drought – and give us some water.”
“It’s time for this council to pull their finger out,” says Jamie.
“Build this bore and let the farmers and the community of Cumborah access the water.
“Floods, droughts, bushfires won’t break us, Ben, but bureaucracy will, so we need some help.”