MEDIA RELEASE: Barnaby Joyce needs to admit state intervention is not enough

Today Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Water Barnaby Joyce finally responded to the allegations aired on Four Corners on Monday night concerning allegations of corruption and water theft.

Unfortunately Mr Joyce’s response could not have been more disappointing. He brushed off responsibility for the allegations, claiming they were a state issue.

To claim this is solely a state issue is outrageous and irresponsible. Barnaby Joyce can’t shrug this off and leave it to the NSW Government to sort out.

The allegations aired on Monday night all go to the integrity of how NSW has behaved, whether or not the NSW Government has been strategically reducing its compliance capacity and undermining any enforcement capacity in the Murray-Darling Basin.

This reason alone illustrates the need for something more than a state response.

The problem for 100 years was that the Murray-Darling Basin was treated as a state issue rather than as a complete river system. What Barnaby Joyce has said today effectively unwinds the entire reason for Murray-Darling reform in the first place.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull needs to step in and work through the COAG process to reach agreement on a judicial inquiry that is able to get to the bottom of what has happened and determine whether or not the allegations aired on Monday night represent a more endemic problem.

Leadership is required, not more excuses.


Tony Burke