The NSW Labor Opposition has raised concerns about the lack of detail surrounding the Government’s independent assessment into the management of the Northern Basin flush event.
It was uncovered during Budget Estimates at NSW Parliament today that Nationals Water Minister Melinda Pavey is still “working through the process” of deciding on a panel and outlining a terms of reference.
The embargoes were put into place to ensure that the first rain event would provide a natural water flush of the river system. But decisions were made on key dates during the February rains to lift the embargoes. Irrigators were left confused about what they were and were not permitted to do.
Labor Shadow Minister for Water Clayron Barr has accused Ms Pavey of failing to plan for adjustments to the embargo she instigated.
“The Minister requested this assessment herself after serious questions were raised about her own department’s decisions and communications of the water embargos. But if she was serious about this assessment she would be pushing this process along,” M Barr said.
“Graziers, Indigenous groups and towns reliant on water further downstream were left angered and confused. They deserve answers about how this decision was managed. It is typical of this government to make an announcement and take no action.”