MEDIA RELEASE: THE PURPOSE OF THE WATER TRIGGER IS TO FIND THE FACTS NOT CONCEAL THEM
THE PURPOSE OF THE WATER TRIGGER IS TO FIND THE FACTS NOT CONCEAL THEM
The Department of Environment must explain reports that it ignored advice from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources that the impacts of the Adani's North Galilee Water Scheme could have significant impacts on a water resource.
It is extraordinary that the Department of Environment - which is not responsible for water policy - has disregarded the advice of the agency in charge of water policy.
The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government moved the water department from the environment portfolio to the agriculture portfolio to please the Nationals and their mates.
Today’s revelations are another example of the recklessness of this Government in dealing with water and why water should never have been removed from the environment portfolio. Bill Shorten and Labor have returned water to the environment portfolio where it belongs.
The purpose of the ‘water trigger’ is to protect our crucial water resources by finding the facts, not conceal them.
Australians know the value of our water for agriculture, the environment and communities; it is clear the Liberals do not.
The ‘water trigger’ was put in place by Labor to protect water resources. It doesn’t automatically rule out a proposal. It is designed so the Independent Expert Scientific Committee has an opportunity to review the impacts.
In this case the test is clear in regard to when the water trigger is required - the test is whether or not the action involves a coal mine.
The argument that the proposed water scheme is not related to the development doesn’t stack up - if the coal mine were not going ahead, the pipeline and dam would not be going ahead.
The Minister has questions to answer. If the department in charge of water resources has provided advice that impacts may be significant then the proposals should be assessed by the Independent Expert Scientific Committee. It may well be that they determine that these particular water actions are not in themselves a problem.
The analysis and advice should come from experts. The Environment Minister needs to act urgently and follow due process.
WEDNESDAY 7 NOVEMBER 2018