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Disagreement over drought management in NSW parliament

By Rodney Woods

The NSW Government has disallowed a motion presented by NSW Member for Murray Helen Dalton to recognise government mismanagement and corruption has made the drought worse than it otherwise would have been.

“When the Water Minister (Melinda Pavey) put up a Betoota Advocate-style motion, calling on parliament to praise this government for its water management, I had to respond with the truth,” Ms Dalton said.

NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey’s public interest debate motion called on parliament to acknowledge “the government on its ongoing management and safeguarding of this precious resource — water, during the worst drought on record”.

In response, Mrs Dalton moved the entire wording of Ms Pavey’s motion be deleted, and replaced with, “this house reprimands the government for its water mismanagement which has made this drought much worse and much longer than it otherwise would have been”.

“This is not the worst drought on record,” Mrs Dalton said in her speech.

“The millennium drought lasted nine long years.

“But we never saw towns running out of water like we are now. We never saw the mass fish kills.

“This drought is much worse than it needed to be because of the mismanagement and corruption that preceded it.”

In response to Ms Dalton's motion, Ms Pavey said Ms Dalton's comments were not helping anyone.

“The comments made by Helen Dalton aren’t helpful and her approach contrasts sharply with her colleague the Member for Barwon Roy Buttler, who's electorate is one of the worst drought-hit areas in the state,” she said.

“Unfortunately, inane press releases like this do nothing to help anyone and it belittles the enormous challenges facing people along the Murray."