Category Archives: Media

Water minister bows to Greens pressure and places embargo on water extraction

MEDIA RELEASE – 8 March 2018

NSW Greens Water spokesman Jeremy Buckingham has today congratulated the Minister for Regional Water, Niall Blair, for placing an embargo on water extraction on the Barwon Darling system, to ensure expected flows from significant recent rainfall in Queensland will at least reach the Bourke weir pool, but raised concerns that too much water will be extracted in Queensland to the detriment of the Darling River.

“I have been pressuring the minister in parliament today to impose an embargo on the Barwon Darling today to ensure water from recent rain events reaches the Darling River, and I’m pleased to see the Minister agree to an embargo late this afternoon” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“It’s very concerning that the Minister does not expect water to reach further downstream than the Bourke weir.  How much of this rain event will be pumped into the irrigation dams around St George and at Cubbie Station in Queensland?

Right now the Darling River is in crisis.  We have a blue green algae red alert on the lower Darling River between Pooncarie and Burtundy that could become life threatening and the Darling is bone dry above Wilcannia. Without significant flows, the Menindee Lakes system and the lower Darling will be without water by the end of the year for the second time in three years.”

“It’s pleasing to see that community pressure and concern for the health of the Darling River has seen the Nationals put the interests of the community and the river ahead of their mates and donors from the irrigation industry for once,” said Mr Buckingham.

Below is the text of the motion moved by Jeremy Buckingham in parliament this morning.

The Minister announced the embargo in response to a question from Mr Buckingham in Parliament in the afternoon.


I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move:

  1. That this House notes that:


  • There has been significant recent rainfall in the northern catchment of the Murray-Darling Basin;
  • There is a very real possibility that none of the flows from this rainfall will make it down to the lower Darling River, especially as under current laws irrigators can capture up to 3 years supply of water from one flow to store in their dams;
  • There is currently a blue green algae red alert on the lower Darling River between Pooncarie and Burtundy that could become life threatening;
  • Without significant flows making it down the Darling River, Broken Hill, the Menindee Lakes system and the lower Darling will be without water by the end of the year for the second time in three years; and,
  • The Darling is currently completely dry north of Wilcannia.


  1. That this House calls on the Minister for Regional Water, Niall Blair, to exercise his powers under the Barwon-Darling Unregulated and Alluvial Sources Water Sharing Plan  2012 to protect the expected flows, including through urgently implementing an embargo on extractions, to ensure that all downstream water users have healthy stock and domestic supplies.

Government dragged kicking and screaming to actually enforce water law

MEDIA RELEASE – 8 March 2018
The NSW Greens welcome the announcement of prosecutions on water compliance matters, but said the government was dragged kicking and screaming into actually enforcing water laws and had announced the prosecutions today as a smokescreen from a damning Ombudsman’s report on Water NSW providing false figures to the Ombudsman that is due to be tabled in NSW Parliament later today.

NSW greens water spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said:

“It’s smokescreen that these prosecutions have been announced on the day when the Ombudsman will table a damning report on how Water NSW provided false figures in an effort to cover up the lack of enforcement.

“This government has been dragged kicking and screaming into actually having to enforce water law.  The lack of compliance has undermined public confidence in the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

“Water theft has real world consequences for the environment and downstream communities. The Darling River is bone dry or suffering blue-green algae breakouts because of over extraction by upstream irrigators.

“The fish rots from the head down, and successive National Party water ministers have created a culture that has resulted in a lack of compliance and favourable treatment of big irrigators.”

Buck stops with Niall Blair: water compliance deception not acceptable

Media Release – 27 February 2018

NSW Greens water spokesman Jeremy Buckingham called on NSW water minister Niall Blair to come clean on whether his Department has attempted to deceive the NSW Ombudsman over compliance actions taken on water issues, saying that the buck had to stop with the minister if there has been any deception, given the Westminster system and the minister’s continual attempts to play down and cover up allegations of water theft and corruption.

“Water minister Niall Blair has led by example in his repeated attempts to play down, stone wall and cover up the growing scandal with water theft and compliance in NSW,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“If it is true his Department has now been caught trying to deceive the Ombudsman, then they are simply mirroring the attitude taken by Minister Blair and he must accept responsibility.

“The minister has repeatedly resisted calls for previous Ombudsman reports to be tabled in NSW Parliament to the extent that the Ombudsman is now reporting directly to the parliament to ensure the minister can not block their release.

“The acute and chronic failure in water compliance in NSW is undermining the entire Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“The ever growing scandal in the administration of water in Australian needs a Royal Commission to lance the boil,” he said.

NSW must stay in the Murray Darling Basin Plan

MEDIA RELEASE – 15 February 2018

NSW Greens water spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today condemned NSW water minister Niall Blair’s comments that NSW should pull out of the Murray Darling Basin Plan as irresponsible and continuing the pattern of siding with big cotton irrigators against the long-term health of the river and the communities and ecology that depend on it.

NSW Greens water spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said:

“The National Party have been working with big irrigators for a long time to either gut the Plan or pull out. The real loser is the river, the ecology, the farmers, communities, and the ability to have good governance between the states.

“I’ve been inundated by Australians who care about the health of the Murray and Darling Rivers, who want the billions of public money buying back real water to flow down our rivers rather than being wasted on smoke and mirrors infrastructure tricks, or paying for water that gets sucked up irrigators pipes anyway because NSW water metering and compliance is farcical.

“The Nationals’ record on water is highly abysmal and under investigation for corruption. They are in no position to lecture anyone about water management and should be stripped of all responsibility for water.

“Prime Minister Turnbull should show some national leadership by giving the Murray Darling Basin Authority some teeth, enforce genuine metering, compliance and buybacks, and stare down parochial state ministers and the handful of irrigation companies that have been trying to gut the MDBP and public confidence in water management.

“The Greens will always act to ensure a successful Murray Darling Basin Plan, but that means a plan that actually delivers water back to the rivers, not some dodgy agreement designed to benefit irrigators.”

Wallarah 2 coal mine approval shows Liberals cannot be trusted to keep promises

MEDIA RELEASE – 17 January 2018

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said today’s approval of the Wallarah 2 coal mine demonstrated the Liberal Party could not be trusted to keep election promises and will always back the coal industry over the community.

Prior to the 2011 state election, then Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell told a rally of residents on the Central Coast that the Liberal Party would not allow coal mining to go ahead in the water catchment “No If’s, No Buts, A Guarantee”.  Now, seven years later the Liberal Party has betrayed this promise and the people of the Central Coast.

“It’s an absolute disgrace that the Liberal Party lied to the people of the Central Coast and have now broken the promise by approving the Wallarah 2 coal mine,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Residents of the Central Coast will understandably feel betrayed by the Liberal Party putting coal mining ahead of their drinking water.

“In 2014, the Greens introduced a bill into NSW Parliament to enact the Liberal Party promise to stop the Wallarah 2 coal mine, but both the government and the Labor opposition refused to even allow debate on the bill. The old parties are absolute hypocrites.

“NSW should not be approving any new coal mines, let alone coal mines that threaten vital water catchments.

“The community of the Central Coast has long battled this mine and I’m sure they will continue and the Greens will stand with them the entire way.”

King Coal tumbles from its throne as Rocky Hill mine rejected by PAC

MEDIA RELEASE 15 December 2017

The NSW Greens welcomed today’s Planning Assessment Commission decision to refuse the proposed Rocky Hill coal mine near Gloucester, saying the decision demonstrated that coal was no longer king in NSW, and they called on the government to cancel the exploration licence to give the community certainty.

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesman, Jeremy Buckingham said:

“The rejection of the Rocky Hill coal mine demonstrates that coal is no longer king in NSW. The planning system is no longer willing to prioritise mining coal over community well-being or the environment.

“The Greens call on the Berejiklian Government to cancel the exploration licence so that the community of Gloucester, who have fought off coal seam gas and now this coal mine, can have certainty that their beautiful valley will be protected.

“While this decision is very welcome, what NSW needs is a transition plan to rapidly phase out coal mining to combat climate change, while providing assistance to workers and communities affected by this structural adjustment.

“Both Labor and the Coalition need to seriously consider a moratorium on new coal mines and developing a strategy to manage the phase out of coal.”

Photo of Greens MPs Jeremy Buckingham and Richard Di Natale with Gloucester Community:

Photo of Greens MPs Jeremy Buckingham and Richard Di Natale with No Rocky Hill sign:

Greens MPs arrested at blockade of Adani mine site in outback Queensland

This morning NSW Greens MPs Jeremy Buckingham and Dawn Walker were arrested by Queensland police after taking part in a blockade of the Adani Carmichael coal mine rail construction site at Belyando, 270km west of Bowen.  The MPs were arrested at 6:35am along with a dozen other climate activists and charged with trespass unlawfully on a place of business.


Photos and video footage of the arrests are available for download here:

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said:

“I’m proud to stand with activists in defence of climate and country, and represent all those people around Australia and internationally who want to stop the Adani coal project,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham 


“Although we are MPs from NSW this is an issue of national and international significance. Adani represents a line in the sand for all those concerned about climate change who do not want to see a new coal precinct opened up in Australia. 


Green MPs have a proud tradition of participating in peaceful, non-violent direct action and we stand with all those opposed to this crazy coal mine,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham


Greens MP Dawn Walker said: 

“It was a very important day for me, stopping work on the Adani mine and being arrested with climate activists who understand the importance of preventing this destructive project from going ahead,” said Greens MP Dawn Walker.


“I was proud to stand with traditional owners who have said ‘no means no’ to Adani, and made it clear they will not be surrendering their land and water to this coal corporation.   


“Although this mine is miles from anywhere, the eyes of all Australia are on it. We have travelled days to get here but believe many more will follow.


I’m appalled by the way this project is tearing indigenous communities apart and offering a sub standard agreement to traditional owners for their land, with little economic opportunity. On every level Adani’s controversial mine does not stack up.”




Jeremy Buckingham: Max Phillips – 0419 444 916 or 9230 2202


Dawn Walker: Graeme Williams  – 0402 438 833


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