MEDIA RELEASE: NOTHING BUT A JUDICIAL INQUIRY WILL DO
Today’s revelation that the NSW Government's most senior water bureaucrat has resigned amid corruption allegations makes it clear - we need a judicial inquiry through COAG into compliance with the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Four Corners recently unearthed concerns that billions of litres of tax-payer owned water was being stolen by a few irrigators. It also exposed allegations of a culture of secrecy and side deals, led at the most senior level in the NSW Government.
Senior Government officials providing department documents for irrigators and joking about 'Plan B' and 'Plan C' in regard to the Murray Darling Basin Plan showed a systemic failure in NSW.
There is no Plan B. The Murray Darling Basin Plan needs to be implemented in good faith by all parties - the health of the Basin and Basin communities depends on it.
When Labor put the Plan in place in 2012 it resolved over a century of infighting and carried bipartisan support. The rivers in the Basin had been dying with algal blooms over 1000km long and the mouth of the Murray had previously closed. The Plan was agreed to by both sides of Parliament and all jurisdictions.
Only a judicial inquiry can get to the bottom the NSW Government's systematic failure. Only a judicial inquiry can:
· compel witnesses to appear
· allow evidence to be taken under oath
· allow documents to be compelled and
· protect whistle-blowers.
Labor's calls for a judicial inquiry have been ignored by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Water Barnaby Joyce who seems more worried about internal party politics and their own citizenship status than the Basin communities.
SATURDAY, 16 SEPTEMBER 2017