Parliament to debate water royal commission as petition hits 10,000

25 January, 2020
Parliament to debate water royal commission as petition hits 10,000 Image

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition urging the NSW Parliament to request a federal royal commission; and a national water register revealing who owns water across the nation.


SFF Murray MP Helen Dalton will present the petition – organised by community advocacy group Speak Up Campaign – to the NSW Parliament tabling office on 4 February, the date that parliament resumes for 2020.


“Because the petition reached 10,000 signatures, NSW Parliament is obliged to debate and vote on the petition motion,” Mrs Dalton said


“If Australia’s biggest state supports a federal royal commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan, it’s going to be very difficult to Commonwealth Government to keep saying no”


“We’ve seen Scott Morrison push for a bushfire royal commission after one season of terrible fires. But we’ve had seven years of major corruption and mismanagement under the Basin Plan”.


“Why are they resisting a water royal commission? Who is the federal  government protecting? Not a single person has been brought to justice over the devastation caused to small towns by dreadful water policy. It’s time for justice.”


The Speak Up Petition also called for a national water register – which is an online, searchable public database which outlines the water ownership of all individuals and companies, both foreign and domestic.


“At present, politicians, foreign companies, Sydney traders and celebrities can all buy and trade water, but there’s no way for the public to identify them,” Mrs Dalton said


“Water traders can manipulate prices, and take advantage of the drought to make money off the back of struggling farmers”.


“I’m introducing a bill into NSW Parliament for a genuine water register in this state. The Bill also requires all NSW politicians to disclose their water ownership. We need this to happen federally too, so we know all the water owners across the country”


“It’s time for NSW to take the lead and pressure the Commonwealth Government to do the same”.


Speak Up Chair Shelley Scoullar said she was shocked how quickly the petition reached the magic 10,000 mark.


“We launched it around the time of the protest rally in Tocumwal in August. On the first day we got a thousand signatures,” she said


“People feel so strongly about this issue, they were queuing up to sign it. We are fed up and want justice now”.


The NSW Parliament tabling office will decide on a date in which NSW Parliament debates the petition in early February. 


My own water register bill is being finalised and I aim to have it debated in March. 


Full petition here:

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