Council reaffirms its commitment

Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) is committed to working with the Hampton Irrigators regardless of any pending legal proceedings.

TRC CEO Brian Pidgeon said it was disappointing Council had been forced to respond to litigation rather than being able to enter into negotiations with the group.

“Council’s preferred method is always to avoid legal proceedings but rather enter into discussions in good faith. This is not only beneficial for all parties involved but also avoids the unnecessary court costs, which ultimately comes at a cost to the ratepayer,” Mr Pidgeon said.

“In this case, Council has advised the Hampton Irrigators of Council’s willingness to talk through the various options Hampton Irrigators may like to consider and how they can continue to access water it wishes to be able to use.

“At no time has Council turned off the tap and denied the Hampton Irrigators access to their allocation of water from the Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply.

“It’s also worth noting that the existing contract also contains a dispute resolution clause whereby the parties agreed that when disputes arise they would engage in mediation. That is Council’s preferred position.”

“It’s regrettable the group has seen it fit to resort to litigation instead of accepting Council’s invitations to talk.

“While Council has no option but to participate in the ongoing legal proceedings, we will continue to work with the group.

“Council recognises the Hampton Irrigators’ important contribution to the regional economy and that maintaining access to a constant and reliable water supply is critical to their successful cropping operations.”

Since 2008, TRC and the Hampton Irrigators have had a water swap agreement in place which enabled Hampton Irrigators to source up to 500ML of water per year from the Toowoomba Bulk Water Supply network and for TRC to source up to 500ML per year from the Hampton Irrigators Bore located some distance from the Hampton assets.