Irrigator sues government over water price



ONE of Australia’s largest irrigators has launched a High Court challenge against the amount of compensation paid to NSW groundwater users for huge cuts to their water entitlements – as other irrigators cheer from the sidelines.

ICM Australia, owned by well known businessman, Doug Shears, claims payments made to irrigators from the $135 million Commonwealth and NSW government Achievable Sustainable Groundwater Entitlements (ASGE) scheme have fallen well short of the “just terms” the federal Constitution requires.

ICM has named the National Water Commission, the NSW Government and the minister administering the (NSW) Water Management Act as defendants.

ICM is said to be Australia’s largest privately owned agribusiness and its companies operate a large citrus orchard and a large-scale irrigated grain, pulse and cotton producing farm near Hillston on the lower Lachlan River, the last of six groundwater regions to receive offers under the scheme.

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