Turf war erupts in Nationals over axing water commissioner

MEDIA RELEASE – 27 May 2014


The Greens NSW spokesperson on water Jeremy Buckingham today warned that a turf war had erupted within the government over the control of water management after newly minted Minister for Natural Resources, Land and Water Kevin Humphries rolled Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson by sacking the Water Commissioner David Harriss.

“It’s clear a turf war has erupted within the National Party, with newcomer Kevin Humphries overturning previous commitments by Katrina Hodgkinson to protect the position and independence of the Water Commissioner,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“With an El Niño on the cards, this is the worst time to re-politicise water decisions and sack someone like David Harriss who has enormous experience and knowledge in this area.“Previously Minister Hodgkinson had committed to making the role of Water Commissioner a statutory office, thereby assuring its independence.

“It’s unclear who is in charge in the Natural Resource Management for the Baird Government.  Ministers Katrina Hodgkinson and Kevin Humphries seem to share the same administrative responsibilities and there is no clarity about how these are divided.  It’s chaos.

“The Greens support decisions on water allocation being based on independent scientific assessment, community needs and consultation.

“Abolishing the role of the Water Commissioner is a bad mistake by a National Party more interested in internal power struggles than in good outcomes for farmers, rural communities and the environment,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

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