Snowy River Alliance Inc v Water Administration Ministerial Corporation and Snowy Hydro Limited

EDO NSW acted for the Snowy River Alliance Inc ('SRA') in their challenge to the Water Administration Ministerial Corporation's ('WAMC') review of the Snowy Hydro water licence and a subsequent variation to the licence.

The Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 (NSW) ('Act') requires the WAMC to conduct a review of the obligations under the licence relating to the ‘Snowy River Increased Flows’ and to exhibit a copy of any state of the environment reports prepared by the Snowy Scientific Committee (‘SSC’).

On 23 July 2010, EDO NSW commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW on behalf of the SRA challenging the validity of the review. SRA argued that the WAMC's review failed to meet the description of ‘review’ as required by the Act and failed to exhibit any SSC reports prior to the review. If the review was found to be invalid, the variation to the licence may also have been invalid.

The matter was heard before the Supreme Court on 14 March 2011. On 30 June 2011, Justice Hislop delivered judgment dismissing SRA’s legal challenge. In recognition of the public interest arguments of the Snowy River Alliance, the Court made no order as to costs.

EDO NSW is grateful to Stephen Free of counsel for his assistance with the case.

Judgment - Order on costs