The ABC’s Four Corners program on Monday night was shocking. If it’s true, that environmental water paid for by the tax payer is being pumped back into irrigation channels and dams, then the entire reform is in jeopardy.
We need to make sure these practices and any complicit behaviour from government officials is uncovered, exposed and stopped. Barnaby Joyce’s response has been unbelievably weak. He has brushed off responsibility for the allegations, claiming they were a state issue. The whole point of Murray Darling Reform was to say we wouldn’t leave it as a state issue. Treating the rivers as though they weren’t a connected system is exactly how the health of the basin collapsed in the first place.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull needs to step in and work through the COAG process to reach agreement on a judicial inquiry that is able to get to the bottom of what has happened and determine whether or not the allegations aired on Monday night represent a more endemic problem