• Rikki Lambert

Shadow water minister critical of NSW Minister's front page 'splash'

The Labor Opposition's Rose Jackson MLC has highlighted that the same Coalition government set the Murray-Darling Basin water saving commitments for the state that they are now abandoning as 'environmental vandalism'.

The Nationals' water minister Melinda Pavey appeared on the front page of the Daily Telegraph newspaper this morning proclaiming that the current set of targets for saving water within the state for its obligations under the Murray Darling Basin Plan amounted to 'environmental vandalism'.

Shadow minister for water Ms Jackson pointed out it was the same government that set the targets in the first place:

"She stuffed up water policy. After ten years in government its a bit much for them to turn around and say, we got it wrong and we're going to go in a new direction. Its blatantly political and a bit pathetic to be honest."

Hear the full interview with Rose Jackson MLC on the FlowNews24 podcast:

Ms Jackson acknowledged it was positive that the state government had saved water saving projects in the Menindee Lakes, noting they lacked community support.

Labor now sees water buybacks to achieve water savings obligations under the Basin Plan as a 'last resort', after Ms Jackson's predecessor told FlowFM the Opposition supported buybacks from 'willing sellers'. The current shadow water minister told FlowNews24:

"We don't want to see the hammer come down in 2024 and the community left facing buybacks as the only option. The government has to act really quickly. Front page splashes from the minister saying we've stuffed it up doesn't instill confidence."

Despite being a NSW MP, Ms Jackson questioned the equitability of federal help for new NSW water saving projects that may be used in substitution for its previous project commitments:

"A federal government has already indicated some $300m will already be available from federal funds. I'm a NSW member of parliament, I want support from the federal government - but some of the other states might rightfully ask why NSW is getting federal money to deliver projects that are the responsibility of the state government."

Minister Pavey was approached for comment but had not responded by deadline.