'Playing politics' with MIA irrigator's plan to donate water

Tony Sergi's plan to donate megalitres of MIA water to drought tied up in 'red tape'

News
DRAINED: Tony Sergi is incredibly disappointed in the government knowing they are 'playing politics' with our donated water. PHOTO: Jacinta Dickins

DRAINED: Tony Sergi is incredibly disappointed in the government knowing they are 'playing politics' with our donated water. PHOTO: Jacinta Dickins

Aa

There is now 25 to 30 million litres of donated water pledged to send to those communities who have been hit the worst with the drought.

Aa

What started out as a desire to help those struggling with the drought is now causing more heartache than ever imagined - and it's certainly not from the lack of generosity from MIA irrigators.

Tony 'Tank' Sergi now has 25 to 30 million litres of donated water pledged to send to those communities who have been hit the worst with the drought.

He reckons he could easily hit 60 million litres. But the government is missing in action, washing his enthusiasm away.

"It's just another way for them to play politics instead of actually helping people who need it desperately," Mr Sergi said.

"It's getting to the point where I wish I never started this - seeing the red tape preventing people from accessing this water, it's incredibly disheartening."

With the water there in the system ready to go, all that is needed is a transport plan - and yet it seems a task too hard for state and government to organise.

He said truck drivers have offered to transport the water to places like Tenterfield, yet he says while that is a generous offer, one truck of water is nowhere near enough.

The government should be able to organise water taken from different access points closest to the towns to save on transport and money, he says.

I am just one person - I have organised the donations, I have spoken to people who are willing to help in any way - and the government is sitting on their hands. - Tony Sergi

"I am just one person - I have organised the donations, I have spoken to people who are willing to help in any way - and the government is sitting on their hands."

Mr Sergi said he was contacted by the Department of Primary Industries, who suggested the water be sold and the money donated.

"But what good is that?" Mr Sergi said.

"Cows and sheep don't eat money. Children can't bathe in money. They need water, that's the whole point."

Despite trying, Member for Murray Helen Dalton has thus far been unable to get a solid plan, or even answers.

Mrs Dalton says her actions have included putting a notice of motion to parliament to declare a state of emergency, contacting the Deputy Prime Minister and water minister Melinda Pavey.

It's extremely frustrating as this water was offered weeks ago but the government are not coming to the party. - Murray state MP Helen Dalton

"As yet the state and federal government have not provided details of any government agency or any other organisation I can work with to get the water delivered," Mrs Dalton said.

"It's extremely frustrating as this water was offered weeks ago but the government are not coming to the party."

Farrer MP Sussan Ley's office said they would be calling in Water NSW to find out the areas needing it the most, and then work towards getting it there.

Within hours of that discussion taking place, they called back to say after extensive phone calls, the most "logical" solution would be to sell the water for cash, solving the issue of logistics.

Both the Deputy premier John Barilaro and Ms Pavey were approached for comment.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by