Goulburn Valley Environment Group has called on the Federal Government to initiate a judicial inquiry into irrigation issues uncovered in the recent ABC Four Corners program.
GVEG said the program demonstrated what happened when a lack of compliance and monitoring was exacerbated by bad policy.
If allegations raised by the Four Corners program are accurate, rogue irrigators and their political backers are harming the health of the entire basin and all communities, the group believes.
‘‘The NSW Government’s actions are having an impact on Victoria’s share of Darling inflows and water availability for both our irrigators and the environment,’’ GVEG president John Pettigrew said.
‘‘Of particular concern is evidence of political collusion surrounding the 2012 Barwon-Darling Water Sharing Plan and questions over the recent northern basin review processes.’’
GVEG does not consider the current government response to call on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to undertake an ‘‘independent’’ inquiry adequate in regard to the severity of the allegations, which include roles and responsibilities of the MDBA.
‘‘We cannot let the implementation of the basin plan be undermined by a few irrigators and corruption in the NSW water industry,’’ Mr Pettigrew said.
‘‘Only a judicial inquiry with the ability to call witnesses and provide protection for whistle blowers will be capable of investigating issues arising from the Four Corners program and subsequent allegations involving the NSW Nationals and the NSW Government.’’