Greens MP and water spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has called for a royal commission into the management of the Murray-Darling Basin, following the latest mass fish kill in the Menindee Lakes.
Ms Faehrmann said a royal commission was needed to investigate the role of the NSW government and its departments in contributing to the decline of the Murray-Darling Basin, whether the current policy framework for managing the basin is adequate to protect the basin during the climate crisis and to recommend urgent reforms to restore the health of the basin.
“This fish kill is just the latest in an extended ecological catastrophe caused by decades of mismanagement, incompetence and special treatment of irrigators interests by successive NSW governments and their agencies,” said Cate Faehrmann.
“This is the worst fish kill on record but unless we urgently shine a spotlight on the departments that continue to make the same mistakes over and over it will just be the worst yet.
“The NSW government’s mismanagement of the Murray Darling Basin has failed to protect the health of our rivers and wetlands, and has favoured the interests of big irrigators over the environment and communities.
“We need a royal commission with broad powers to subpoena documents, compel witnesses and access information that has been hidden from public scrutiny. We know the department is not acting in the best interests of the health of the basin and it’s time that it’s finally exposed, before it’s too late.
“The NSW government has ignored scientific advice, manipulated water sharing plans, undermined environmental flows, allowed illegal pumping and meter tampering, and wasted hundreds of millions on ineffective infrastructure projects.
“Climate change is making droughts more severe and frequent, and reducing inflows into our rivers. The NSW Government has left the basin completely unprepared for the realities of the climate crisis.
“If we continue with business as usual the Darling-Baaka, the Menindee Lakes and the whole Murray-Darling Basin is facing a death sentence. We need a royal commission to get to the bottom of this disaster and prevent it from happening again,” said Cate Faehrmann.