The Australian Greens are renewing calls for a federal Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin following the conviction of a NSW cotton grower who stole water from the river.
“The conviction of Anthony Barlow, who has admitted to stealing water from the river, should send shock waves through big corporate irrigators throughout the Murray Darling Basin. The river is in crisis, a Royal Commission is sorely needed to clean out the rot and hold those responsible to account,” Greens environment and water spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“It has been almost two years since allegations of Anthony Barlow’s water theft were exposed on ABC’s Four Corners, and five months since he pleaded guilty to charges. We know the scandals plaguing our river run much deeper than one cotton farmer doing wrong by his neighbours and the environment.
“The Greens push for a federal Royal Commission has a groundswell of support across the country. Particularly from those on the frontline in affected river communities – people who have no clean water to drink or bathe in, or have been victims of neighbours stealing water from the River. The message must be clear: if you steal water from the environment and your neighbours, there will be consequences.
“The Murray Darling Basin Plan is in tatters, thanks to water theft, meter tampering, and special treatment from the Nationals for their big corporate irrigator mates. River communities will not sit by while corporate greed kills our environment and drains our water supply.
“We urgently need a Royal Commission into the mismanagement and over-extraction of water in the Murray Darling Basin. Australians deserve better, we need a healthy river – it is the lifeblood of our country.”