High Court knocks back irrigator challenge to Basin Plan

High Court knocks back irrigator challenge to Basin Plan

14.12.2012 - Posted by Kane Travis
The first challenge to the Basin Plan has been rejected by the high court. Murray Valley United, which represents about 500 irrigators from Victoria, NSW and South Australia attempted to constitutionally challenge the laws which establish the Murray-Darling Basin Authority by claiming the 2007 Water Act is invalid under the constitution. The fundamental legal question being posed in this process is whether this Act overrides the rights of irrigators and other water users.

The logical extension of the argument is it can be established that the Act is invalid, then so is the MDBA and then so is the Basin Plan. However Chief Justice French told the court the case was not in a suitable form to be considered by the High Court and the case has been referred to the Federal Court.

It would no doubt be a blow to Murray Valley United, but they do get to progress the challenge in another forum. This forms one of a number of groups talking about legal challenges. You have to wonder who the ultimate winners will be from the future court action – I suspect the lawyers.

Image: abc.net.au