NSW Government blocks Dalton water mismanagement motion

19 December, 2019
NSW Government blocks Dalton water mismanagement motion Image

The NSW Government on Tuesday disallowed a motion by Murray SFF MP Helen Dalton to recognise government mismanagement and corruption has made the drought worse than it otherwise would have been.

“When the Water Minister put up a Betoota Advocate-style motion, calling on Parliament to praise this government for its water management, I had to respond with the truth,” Ms Dalton said

NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey’s public interest debate motion called on Parliament to acknowledge “the Government on its ongoing management and safeguarding of this precious resource - water, during the worst drought on record”.

In response, Mrs Dalton moved the entire wording of Ms Pavey’s motion be deleted, and replaced with,  “this House reprimands the Government for its water mismanagement which has made this drought much worse and much longer than it otherwise would have been”.

The Liberals and Nations twice interjected to stop Mrs Dalton from speaking before the Speaker disallowed her motion immediately after her speech.

“This is not the worst drought on record,” Mrs Dalton said in her speech.

“The millennium drought lasted nine long years,”

“But we never saw towns running out of water like we are now. We never saw the mass fish kills,”

“This drought is much worse than it needed to be because of the mismanagement and corruption that preceded it”.

Government MPs gasped when Mrs Dalton used the word “corruption”, and started shouting at her, calling her a disgrace.

Mrs Dalton cited the National Party’s changing of the Barwon Darling Water Sharing Plan, in 2012, which allowed pumping during low flows, as an example of the bad decision making which caused problems down the river. She also criticised the draining of the Menindee Lakes.

Mrs Dalton also questioned why big corporate owned Tandou received $78 million of taxpayers money as compensation for lack of water; while the government doesn’t even provide a fuel subsidy for volunteers transporting bottled water to dry towns.

“I call on the state government to do more to help fix the mess this government created,” Mrs Dalton said in conclusion.

Full motion details: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/la/papers/Documents/2019/24-september-2019-votes-and-proceedings/025-VAP.pdf

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