Min­is­ter si­lenced

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION -

South Aus­tralia’s Wa­ter Min­is­ter has been pre­vented from giv­ing ev­i­dence at a Sen­ate in­quiry into the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin.

Ian Hunter made an un­sched­uled ap­pear­ance at the hear­ing in Ade­laide on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 2 but was re­fused per­mis­sion to make a state­ment along­side de­part­men­tal of­fi­cials.

How­ever, a mem­ber of his depart­ment was al­lowed to read a state­ment on his be­half.

The state­ment al­leged there was cor­rup­tion, wa­ter theft and sys­tem­atic un­der­min­ing of the Mur­rayDar­ling Basin Plan.

Greens Sen­a­tor Sarah Hanson-Young said it was an atro­cious de­ci­sion by the chair, Sen­a­tor Glenn Sterle, to re­ject the ev­i­dence of the min­is­ter.

‘‘Of­ten in these com­mit­tees, we want to call state min­is­ters and they refuse to come,’’ Sen­a­tor Han­sonYoung said.

‘‘To have a state min­is­ter sit­ting in front of us will­ing to give ev­i­dence and dis­miss­ing it, I think was the wrong call.’’

Mr Hunter agreed and de­scribed his treat­ment as a ‘‘ter­ri­ble po­lit­i­cal blun­der’’.

‘‘It shows again the eastern states don’t really care about South Aus­tralia’s po­si­tion on wa­ter — how dare we have a view about it,’’ Mr Hunter told ABC ra­dio.

Sen­a­tor Hanson-Young said $13 bil­lion had been spent to se­cure wa­ter in the basin for the en­vi­ron­ment, but the wa­ter was in­stead be­ing sucked out into stor­age for big cor­po­ra­tions.

‘‘We need to clean up this mess, we need to re­turn wa­ter to the river and we need to re­turn in­tegrity to the sys­tem,’’ she said.

❝We need to clean up this mess, we need to re­turn wa­ter to the river and we need to re­turn in­tegrity to the sys­tem.❞ Sen­a­tor Sarah Hanson-Young

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