The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says the NSW Government is siding with its big irrigator industry mates over the common interest of healthy rivers and thriving communities by seeking to withdraw from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
ACF Director of Campaigns, Dr Paul Sinclair, said the NSW Government had presided over a water regime that has sparked criminal and corruption investigations and damning independent critiques of its compliance programs.
“You would think the NSW Government would have a little more shame given the serious allegations of rorting and mismanagement of the river on its watch,” said Dr Sinclair.
“Rather than get its house in order and work seriously to restore the health of our inland rivers – Australia’s lifeblood – NSW seems obsessed with tearing apart decades of river reform that was sparked by Prime Minister John Howard.
“In fact, a bit over six months ago Australians heard on Four Corners a senior NSW public servant recorded on tape telling members of the irrigation industry about a ‘Plan B’ – to pull out the of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
“The truth is the NSW National Party has always wanted to bolster the fortunes of a few powerful irrigators over restoring the health of the entire river. And the NSW Liberals are now letting them destroy decades of work to save the Murray-Darling.
“It is now incumbent on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to pull the NSW Nationals into line and get the Basin Plan back on track. She must ensure NSW is working to deliver the Basin Plan in full and on time, and to implement reforms that protect water for rivers and stop dodgy dealings on the Murray-Darling.
“Otherwise Premier Berejiklian will condemn our wetlands, wildlife and communities that depend on a healthy river.”