MEDIA RELEASE: Barnaby Joyce needs to act - we need a judicial inquiry

Documents released by the media today raise concerns that the Murray-Darling Basin Authority may have had evidence relating to the allegations of water theft in NSW as early as July 2016.

Billions of litres of tax-payer-funded environmental water have allegedly been stolen in the NSW. A Judicial Inquiry is needed to get to the truth. 

Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce ordered an investigation by the Murray Darling Basin Authority in to compliance with the Basin Plan. It has always been preposterous for the Authority to independently asses these claims because part of their role is compliance. If the allegations made today are true Barnaby Joyce’s proposal is ludicrous.

The implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan crosses State and Federal jurisdictions. Only through COAG can there be a process which allows the same investigation to access all the relevant information across each jurisdiction.

Surely this shows the Government the need for a national independent judicial inquiry that can compel and protect witnesses. Only a national approach will provide a thorough investigation into those who have allegedly committed crimes of theft and will clear those who have acted appropriately.

In the coming weeks Labor will use the Senate inquiry as an opportunity to ask further questions of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. However Labor will not back down in it's push for a judicial inquiry.


Tony Burke