Independent MP Justin Field has called on the NSW Water Minister to commit to immediately releasing the Natural Resources Commission's final report into the Barwon Darling Water Sharing Plan once it is received by the Government.
The call follows a full day of water budget estimates hearings in NSW Parliament. The minister indicated in estimates hearings this morning that the final report would be provided to Government at 12:30pm today but as of 4pm, the report had still not been published and there was uncertainty about its status.
"The NSW Water Minister should release the Natural Resources Commission final report of its review into the Barwon Darling Water Sharing Plan as soon as it is available. She should also publicly release the modelling she commissioned to try to attack the draft report. Given the significant public interest in the report and the recent unprecedented attack by the Minister on the Independent Natural Resources Commission, the final report should be released to the public as soon as it is received by the Government. The report must be made public well ahead of any Government response. The Minister's answers in Budget Estimates provided no justifiable explanation for the attack on the NRC's draft report. Water NSW indicated they had provided 95 different responses to NRC requests for information throughout the review process and the Minister acknowledged that she only commissioned the additional Water NSW modelling after the draft report was released.
"Significantly, the Minister provided no evidence to counter the recommendations of the NRC's report. This process has been unnecessarily muddied by the Minister for unclear purposes. The perception is that she has criticised the process and the science to try to distract from the damning findings and critical recommendations in the report. The Minister should ensure the process from now is transparent and start by publishing the final NRC report and the water modelling she has used to try to undermine the report," Mr Field said.