Low grade for Water NSW and their public information

27 January, 2021
Low grade for Water NSW and their public information Image

Member for Barwon Roy Butler is calling on Water NSW to step up and keep the public properly informed when it comes to rule changes, flow rates and pumping in the Barwon-Darling River.

Mr Butler says river flow targets need to be made readily understandable for the public, and a full account of whether or not they have been achieved published.

“Water NSW has to understand that water in the Darling River is a highly sensitive issue in my electorate, people want to see water in our rivers and vibrant communities along them – but people are currently interpreting what’s going on in an information vacuum,” said Mr Butler.

“The bureaucrats in their office in Parramatta have to take responsibility for keeping the public informed – at the moment I’d grade them fairly low at meeting that responsibility.

“Water NSW is no longer talking to an industry audience, its whole communities that come from different points of view and understanding. Water NSW has failed to take this into consideration, and now my communities are in an information vacuum and they’re in uproar.

“You need only look at Water NSW’s recent announcements to see what I am getting at this information is industry jargon that is inaccessible to broader public. As ICAC has correctly pointed out this is an agency solely used to communicating technical data with industry insiders.

“All eyes are on the NSW Government and Water NSW to ensure there’s flow down the Darling River – but the public doesn’t have much confidence in the government that it will actually happen. The current lack of information isn’t doing anything to help improve that confidence.

“The NSW Government really needs to invest in ensuring that there’s enough information in the public domain that’s accessible, they need to make sure the gauges down the river are accurate and maintained and the data from them becomes public in a timely manner.

“If the public is to have any confidence the NSW Government must ensure no information is hidden down the back of the couch – or in this instance tied up in technical jargon.”

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