The troubles surrounding the Murray Darling Basin Plan are reaching fever pitch.
4 DECEMBER 2017
Barnaby may be back, but door to water ministry must stay closed
The Australian Greens are renewing calls for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to keep the keys to the Water Ministry out of the hands of Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals.
Just because Barnaby Joyce has settled his citizenship blunder and has been returned to Parliament, does not mean we can forget the stuff up after stuff up at the helm of the Water Ministry.
Barnaby Joyce said he wants a ‘reset’, but he simply doesn’t deserve one.
The Greens will not forget the mess he has made of the water portfolio and the Murray Darling Basin, and river communities will not forgive.
From dismissing the need to investigate allegations of water theft, to telling his irrigator mates he had the water portfolio simply to ‘make sure we don’t have greenies running the show’ and admitting the agriculture and water portfolios were linked to ‘look after’ NSW irrigators, Barnaby Joyce has shown he is implicated in the cover up culture that threatens to bring down the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
Tomorrow I’ll move in the Senate calling on the agriculture and water portfolios to be split, and for Barnaby Joyce to not be given the water portfolio following his incompetence, proven time and again, in the role.
Australians have been ripped off to the tune of billions of dollars over the mismanagement of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, and river communities are struggling. This Plan was put in place to make sure there was enough water to sustain the environment and communities that relied on the river, and Barnaby Joyce has watched over its disintegration.
NOTICE OF MOTION
I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that
The Senate –
- Notes that:
- Before his resignation, Barnaby Joyce was the Turnbull Government’s Minister for Water;
- The Minister for Water has authority over the function of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
- Notes further that, in his time as Minister for Water, former Minister Joyce:
- Dismissed the suggestion that the Commonwealth investigate allegations of water theft broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Four Corners program;
- Described instead those allegations as a conspiracy to “take more water” from irrigators in an effort to “shut more of your towns down”;
- Suggested that allegations that irrigators in New South Wales have undermined the Murray-Darling Basin Plan were an issue for New South Wales only, as “the people who live around where that water may have been taken live all in New South Wales.”
- Indicated that the reason he held the responsibility for the water portfolio was to “make sure we don’t have greenies running the show”;
- Said that the decision to incorporate the water portfolio into the broader agriculture portfolio was to “look after” irrigator communities in New South Wales; and
- Suggested the allegations were broadcast by Four Corners out of sympathy for “radical greens organisations”.
- Acknowledges that the Australian taxpayer has bought billions of litres of water back under the Murray Darling Basin Plan, giving all Australians, in every state and territory, an interest in ensuring this water is used for its stated purpose.
- Recognises that bestowing a single minister with responsibility for both agriculture and water creates a conflict of interest.
- Calls on the Government to split the portfolios of Water and Agriculture and to not return the responsibility for water to former Minister Joyce.