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Barwon MP Roy Butler presents Terms of Reference for independent inquiry into water management

Published on Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Barwon MP Roy Butler presents Terms of Reference for independent inquiry into water management

Member for Barwon, Roy Butler is calling on the NSW Government to commit to an inquiry into aspects of New South Wales water management and their impacts on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Butler’s call for an independent inquiry comes after consultation with communities, irrigators, graziers, towns, water researchers and ecologists, all of whom raised serious concerns about government decision making in relation to water management.

“I’m calling for an inquiry to restore public confidence, and identify how certain decisions contributed to the current conditions in western NSW,” said Mr Butler. 

“I have discussed the inquiry with Minister Pavey and provided her with the draft Terms of Reference. In our conversation, I emphasised that this inquiry is needed to restore the public’s confidence in the NSW water planning and management processes.

“The draft Terms of Reference cover a number of ongoing concerns including the Barwon Darling Water Sharing Plan, the management of Menindee Lakes, floodplain harvesting, low flows and connectivity, and the impact of rock weirs in the Lower Darling.

“I want to emphasise the importance of making sure any inquiry into water management in NSW is independent of government and Parliament, and has sufficient authority and resourcing to comprehensively investigate the matters arising.

“This is not about the drought; this is not about the actions of other states. This is about previous NSW Government decision making and those who are involved in these processes.

“The inquiry will be focused on looking at past decisions and the impact these decisions have had on water management and industry in western NSW.

“This is about clearing public concerns around the integrity of the irrigation industry and water management practices. The intention of this inquiry is to restore public confidence.

‘It is important that this inquiry take place free of influence so we do not find ourselves in this situation again.

“I will work with all Members of Parliament who are interested in improving water management in NSW to ensure a just, comprehensive inquiry occurs.”

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