Family Law - dirty business

A personal story offered to the 2019 Inquiry into the Australian Family Court.

















Jim Small MP, was National Party Member for Murray and he first supported Waterhouse. He realized the potential of the project and he wrote to Maritime asking them to back the botel project. Two years later he lied to the NSW Parliament about his involvement and that of many other groups.

Here is a transcript of what he told parliament according to the Hansard record Page 3188 November 10, 1988

This is the dishonest NSW Parliament account of the matter. 

3 188 BARHAM BOATEL -10 November, 1988 ASSEMBLY.

Mr SMALL (Murray) [4.20]: seek to talk about a development on waterways-in this case a boatel on the Murray River at the township of Barham within my electorate. The construction of a floating motel on the river waters is creating problems for and concern to many people in the area. A formal application, which I was requested to support, was made to the Wakool shire council in early 1987 in the name of Waterhouse Enterprises. At the time the application was made I took the matter up with the Minister. The development is on the New South Wales side of the Murray River, upstream of the town of Barham, along a beautiful sandbar. At that point the Murray is very narrow [ 10 ]. The boatel is designed to contain 15 floating units on seven pontoons located on each side of the central recreation and house type unit. Being upstream of the town, the development will endanger the town's water supply by polluting and contaminating it [ 8 ]. It will be necessary for the boatel development to be connected to a sewage disposal depot [ 13 ]. Since the local people have realized the consequences of this type of facility being built they have raised many objections to it. The Barham Progress Association has come out strongly against the development since it was started, expressing the worries of the citizens of the town. The Murray Valley Water Diverters Association has objected to the proposal. The Murray Valley League and the Murray-Darling Basin Commission 492 493 have objected to the proposal. The local public have presented a petition bearing 270 signatures against the proposal. After all the protests that the Wakool shire council has received, it has now called for an environmental impact study and as Waterhouse Enterprises has not already undertaken such a study, the council now opposes the development. The application, if implemented, would create a precedent. 213 Nowhere on the Murray River is there such a floating vessel permanently anchored in one spot. As I mentioned, this is a very narrow section of the river. If it had been located further down the river where there are small weirs and the watercourse is broad, it would not cause such a serious problem. The proposed development, in its present location, would clearly block a fair proportion of the river and could create problems for other users. I am disappointed that at this stage the Maritime Services Board has not objected to the structure. I suppose there is provision for granting a marine licence to permit the anchoring of a large vessel or houseboat or similar watercraft, 386 387 but the only construction undertaken by the developer so far is in the form of pontoons, which are floating vessels. Structures are to be placed on these pontoons to provide accommodation. I am pleased that the Minister for Administrative Services and Assistant Minister for Transport 414 is at the table, for I know he understands the area, having previously been Minister for Water Resources. Mr DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member has exhausted his time for speaking.


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