A test to see whether water minister Niall Blair is fair dinkum or covering up?

MEDIA RELEASE – 21 November 2017

NSW water minister Niall Blair faces a test to see whether he is fair dinkum about cleaning up corruption and mismanagement in water or whether he is covering up.

The NSW Ombudsman has produced three separate reports on water compliance and enforcement in 2009, 2012 and 2013.  None of these reports have been made public by the minister.

The Greens will move tomorrow for these reports to be tabled in parliament through the powerful Standing Order 52, which, if passed, will require the documents to be produced within 14 days.

NSW Greens water spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said:

“For too long minister Blair has been dodging and weaving pretending he is about transparency on the water scandal, but moving to cover things up.

“Here is a simple test for the minister:  will he support the public release of these three past ombudsman reports, or will he try to use the numbers in the parliament block their release and keep the public in the dark?

“Last week the NSW Ombudsman took the unusual step of directly tabling a damning interim report on water compliance and enforcement which noted that similar issues had been reported in three previous reports, but little had been done to deal with the issues for a decade.

“If the government blocks the release of these three reports, then you can be certain they are not interested in transparency, they are only interested in covering up.”

The following motion will be moved by formal business in the Legislative Council on Wednesday 22 November 2017.

  1. Mr Buckingham to move—

That, under standing order 52, there be laid upon the table of the House within 14 days of the date of

passing of this resolution the following documents in the possession, custody or control of the

Department of Industry and the Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water, and

Minister for Trade and Industry:

(a) the first second and third NSW Ombudsman’s reports of 2009, 2012 and 2013 referred to at

pages 9, 10 and 11 of the “Investigation into water compliance and enforcement 2007-17: A

special report to Parliament under section 31 of the Ombudsman Act 1974,” dated November

2017, and

(b) any legal or other advice regarding the scope or validity of this order of the House created as a

result of this order of the House.

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