I LAMENT the lack of leadership - local, state and federal - when it comes to water security for Bathurst.
We hear endlessly about jobs and growth for Bathurst, yet without water security, sustained growth is now possible.
Councillors have sat at the table for years without a vision to drought-proof a growing city and region.
We all know the climate is variable and drought is part of living on this land. Waiting for natural rainfall is no policy.
We know, for example, an inland city, Goulburn, had a severe water crisis, sought funding, raised a dam wall and secured access to a pipeline to kick in at a designated level.
The benefit of this has been growth by attracting new industries and jobs.
There is more to being a councillor than relying on senior staff and engineers to fix the problem.
We know NSW's share of Snowy 2.0 is $4.2 billion. This money is entirely earmarked for regional infrastructure. Where is the leadership to secure $300 million of this fund to raise the Ben Chifley Dam wall, secure the spillway and pipe water to the treatment works?
In addition, federal drought-proofing infrastructure funding is being allocated as I write. Come on, councillors, pursue these funds aggressively without delay.
This water crisis has not happened overnight, but has been building slowly over the years. When councillors run around and concentrate on 10th-order issues like a second racetrack or popularly elected mayor, they miss the essential points.
Plan B immediately should be to explore groundwater options as our options are fast running out.
We know from byelections and recent state and federal elections that the regions feel neglected and there is a quiet rage bubbling away under the surface.
Should the taps run dry next year and water is trucked to Bathurst at $10 million per week, as stated at a recent council meeting, this rage will surface and this will be reflected at the ballot box.
The people of Bathurst should never have been put in this position. They deserve better and their needs are not being met.
Where is our leadership?