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16 December 2020

Independent Senator Rex Patrick has criticised Minister Pitt’s announcement that former NSW Deputy Premier and National Troy Grant is to be appointed the Interim Inspector-General of Water Compliance for the Murray-Darling Basin.

“This selection is like appointing the fox to look after the hen house,” said Senator Patrick.

“This extremely important compliance role requires the complete confidence of all stakeholders across the basin; communities, irrigators, pastoralists, tourism operators, indigenous people, recreational users and the environment. Mr Grant's appointment will not achieve that”.

“Mr Grant comes from National Party stock. The National Party is the party for alpha irrigators at the big end of town. Almost none of the stakeholders, including mum and dad irrigators, will have confidence in the Minister’s choice”.

Mr Grant’s views on the Murray Darling Basin Plan are very clear. In a 21 February 2012 speech to the NSW Legislative Assembly, he stated, “This plan could have devastating effects across all basin communities”.

“He’s now being asked to enforce a plan he doesn’t truly believe in,” said Senator Patrick.

“According to a 12 November 2014 Parliamentary speech Mr Grant expressed his enthusiasm for delivering dams, bores and pipelines. He was a huge fan of the Wentworth to Broken Hill pipeline that is a being used to divert Murray River water to the Silver City so the over-extraction for the cotton fields of the Northern Basin can continue without objection from a township otherwise dependant on Darling River water”.

“He’s the wrong guy for the job. Full stop!”.

“This appointment does not have my support and will have little support right across the basin,” said Senator Patrick. “It's simply a case of 'jobs for the boys' and an exercise in gross incompetence by the Federal Water Minister”.