Water Minister Tony Burke’s appointment of former NSW Labor Minister Craig Knowles as the new Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) Chair is deeply concerning.
Minister Burke served in NSW State Parliament with Mr Knowles who held a variety of portfolios in the revolving-door shemozzle that is NSW Labor.
The decision to politicise such an important job by appointing a Senior Minister from such a disastrous Government is astounding.
“Tony Burke didn’t like what Mike Taylor had to say so he has been replaced with a Labor mate. The people of the Murray-Darling will not be so easily duped,” Shadow Minister for Water Barnaby Joyce said.
“Labor has already caused immense damage throughout the Basin, with house prices falling by an average of 10% since the Guide to the Draft Plan was released.
“It doesn’t matter who heads up the Murray-Darling Basin Authority they are bound by the riding instructions of the Water Act. Mike Taylor, the former Chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, the Productivity Commission and Professor of Law George Williams all agree that the environment must take precedence over social and economic factors under the existing Water Act.
“While Labor refuses to investigate the Water Act, they are refusing to help those left behind by their Basin Plan.”
“NSW Labor’s unrivalled reputation for incompetence and failure to deliver is unwelcome news if this is the style to be brought to the MDBA,” Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Murray-Darling Basin Simon Birmingham said.
“While Federal Labor is quickly earning a similar reputation, we must hope that Basin reform will not fall victim to the NSW Government malaise of death by focus group and press release.
“Mr Knowles will inherit a reform process that has already gone off the rails under Labor’s watch and he now has a difficult and challenging job ahead of him. It is a job of immense importance to the future of the health of the river and to Basin communities. 
“Australians deserve a good Basin Plan, not a NSW Labor-style Plan.”