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Nature Conservation Council v. New South Wales (NSW) Nature Conservation Council of NSW v Minister for Water, Property and Housing
Asia and the Pacific
Data source:
Sabin Center
Court name:
Land and Environment Court
Seat of court:
New South Wales
Reference number:
In October 2021, the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) of New South Wales (NSW) filed a case against the NSW Water Minister and NSW Environment Minister to challenge the validity of the Border Rivers Water Sharing Plan. The plaintiffs have asked the court to invalidate the Border Rivers Water Sharing Plan in the Murray-Darling Basin on the grounds that decision-makers have failed to properly consider climate change, thereby breaching the Water Management Act 2000. This includes a failure by the Ministers to factor in the impact of the most recent drought in Australia on the Basin. The plaintiffs rely on the rights of children and future generations to enjoy and benefit from healthy, functioning river systems. The plaintiffs allege that rivers in Australia are already being impacted by over extraction. Climate change will only worsen those impacts and amplify inequities already embedded in water sharing regimes, including for Indigenous Australians and future generations. The NCC asks the court to look at the impacts beyond the Border Rivers, including surrounding floodplains, downstream rivers and communities, notably the Barwon-Darling/Barka River, since some of its flows come from the Border Rivers catchment.

Key environmental legal questions:

Whether NSW Government Ministers are required to properly consider climate change when drawing up water sharing plans and whether this requirement was met in relation to the Border Rivers Water Sharing Plan.
Youth/Children; Suits against governments; Environmental assessment and permitting; Human Rights; Other projects