MEDIA RELEASE – 22 November 2017
The NSW Greens have accused water minister Niall Blair of covering up maladministration of water compliance and enforcement after the government used its numbers in parliament to block 18 votes to 15 votes, the public release of three separate ombudsman reports.
In his latest interim report the NSW Ombudsman says:
“The concerns raised in earlier investigations continue to be a strong theme in the current investigation, and are summarised in this progress report.”
The 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.
NSW Greens water spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said:
“This was a test to see whether water minister Niall Blair was fair dinkum about transparency, and he has flunked it badly.
“The Ombudsman made it clear in his interim report that many of the issues now causing scandal were raised in a series of reports dating back as far as 2009.
“It is important to see what information and recommendations the Ombudsman made in previous reports, and whether successive NSW Government took the conclusions of these report seriously or enacted the recommendations.
“Next time water minister Niall Blair says he is not acting to cover up this scandal, remember that he voted to block the public from reading what was in these three ombudsman reports.
“The National Party should be stripped of the water portfolio and there should be a Royal Commission in to the administration of the Murray Darling Basin.”