The NSW Government today welcomed moves to bring greater scrutiny to water security by introducing an Inspector General to make sure state and federal water agencies are held to account.
Minister Pavey said one of the first action items she will request from the new Inspector General is to investigate key findings made in an Internal Audit Report undertaken by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH).
”I support the Commonwealth’s actions to restore faith in the implementation of the Basin Plan and have the other states reach equitable transparency by meeting compliance measures across the country,” Ms Pavey said.
“I hope the new Inspector General’s first order of business is to rigorously assess the Internal Audit Report which was finalized in 2017 but only released this year.”
The Report states, “The risk of not achieving the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder’s obligations appears highest in South Australia”.
“SA has not provided reporting over the last two to three years that attribute Commonwealth environmental water transferred to SA to specific environmental actions. For, example at of 2015-16 over 100 gigalitres was not attributed to any environmental outcomes in SA”.
“NSW communities have been doing the heavy lifting to ensure water is being shared across the country, including the environment. Our Communities need to have confidence in where and how environmental water is being used once it crosses the South Australian border,” Ms Pavey said.
“NSW can’t stand by while vulnerable communities watch as water flows past, destined for downstream communities that are not suffering from the same level of drought as communities in NSW.
“Losing 100,000 megalitres of environmental water is unacceptable and needs to be investigated. The new Inspector General would be the obvious person to do it.”
Murray Darling Basin Minister’s will attend a Minco meeting in Canberra this Sunday at which the NSW Government will present these issues.