Minister Pavey flip-flops on embargo to create perfect storm of misinformation
The decision to backflip on an embargo and waive restrictions on take in several tributaries and parts of the Peel, Namoi and Gwydir rivers doesn’t pass the pub test according to Member for Barwon Roy Butler.
“Minister Pavey pushes out information in the media about doing all she can to support communities through this drought then comes along with a decision like this that severely impacts on the mental health of everyone in Barwon.
“What Minister Pavey has achieved here is the creation of conflict between communities. Who does that benefit?
“What’s the point of creating this perfect storm of misinformation?
“I haven’t received a single call from anyone in Barwon that’s happy with this decision, what I have received are calls and messages from many people from farmers and irrigators, to people in towns and Aboriginal Elders asking what the Minister is playing at.
“There is a complete lack of transparency from Minister Pavey and the Department of Planning Industry and Environment about this decision.
“Who would know how or why they made this decision? There’s no transparency on the decision-making metrics for embargoes. This lack of information greatly affects people’s ability to understand why these decisions have been made.
“It’s created a huge amount of uncertainty and concern in my communities about what’s actually going on,” said Mr Butler.
This decision is even more inexplicable given Minister Pavey’s recent comments that rain in the catchments needs to be able to flow the length of the system, all the way to Menindee.
“All across my electorate are people that are struggling due to the protracted drought, this week some of them were lucky enough to receive more rain then we’ve had in years, others have received nothing.
“For those that received nothing, and look out on a dry river bed they had hope that water would make its way down from the north. Their optimism was bolstered when an embargo was placed on this water.
“Minister Pavey has just ripped that optimism from them and replaced it with anxiety and uncertainty.”
Mr Butler wrote to Minister Pavey in January asking for more transparency around section 324 embargoes. These embargoes are made without input from the community and don’t provide information on the embargoes merits.
“Former Water Minister Niall Blair is on the record saying the NSW Government would be working on a transparent process for determining embargoes. Minister Pavey needs to get people working on this and actually out listening to agriculture and the community about what the process should look like.
“People are fed up with decisions about water being made under a shroud of secrecy. People’s livelihoods and the future of communities hang off these decisions – we’ve all had enough of the total disregard from the government.
“That’s why I have introduced legislation to bring water decision making back to the Parliament and back to the people of NSW. And it’s why I continue to push for a Federal Royal Commission.”