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Butler calls for independent review of Barwon-Darling water rules

2 February, 2021
Butler calls for independent review of Barwon-Darling water rules Image

Member for Barwon Roy Butler is pushing for an independent review of the first use of new protection of flow rules in the Barwon Darling management zone.

“The first flow rules were created to protect environmental water and ensure water made its way to communities down the river. These rules gave the community reassurance that there would be water in the river again,” said Mr Butler.

“The application of these rules has been watched very closely by the community all along the Darling River who want to see water back in our rivers.

“Following news that there would be a resumption of pumping by water licence holders based on predicted flows I was contacted by a number of people and organisations concerned about how the rule had been applied.

“We know that as a matter of course Water NSW will conduct their own internal review given this is the first time these rules have been used.

“In the interest of public confidence and trust we need to go further than an internal agency run review. I’m calling for an independent review by a competent person or an organisation such as the Natural Resources Commissioner who is not involved in the decision-making process or affected by any of the decisions made.

“This review must look at forecasts, trigger points, communication, definitions and its goes without saying the actual results of decisions compared to what was intended.

“Trust around water management needs to be improved, one simple way to build trust is for water agencies to be open and transparent.

“Water is vital for all communities, anxiety and scepticism surround water management and decisions has been fuelled by years of closed door decision-making – something that has to stop.”

Mr Butler has written to the Minister for Water, Property and Housing requesting an independent review.

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