It is untenable for the Water Minister and his newly appointed Chair of the Murray–Darling Basin Authority to neither express confidence in the Authority’s board nor explain why or how they plan to fix it, Coalition Basin spokesman Simon Birmingham said today.
Tony Burke and Craig Knowles were both interviewed for a Four Corners report on Basin reform, airing tonight on ABC TV, but have reportedly refused to express confidence in the current board.
“Mr Burke and Mr Knowles must state they have confidence in the Authority’s board or outline their reasons why not and how they plan to rectify the matter,” Senator Birmingham said.
“The current board was handpicked by Mr Burke’s predecessor as Water Minister, Penny Wong – this Labor Government chose these people and should have confidence in them.
“If the Minister and Chair are equivocal on whether they have confidence in the board how can anyone else in the Basin be expected to have confidence in them?
“Murray-Darling Basin reform was intended to be undertaken by an independent, expert Authority.
“The actions of Minister Burke and Mr Knowles are undermining the perceived independence and expertise of the board, which has already seen one recent resignation by Dr Diana Day.
“As part of their jobs Minister Burke and Mr Knowles should be showing leadership and getting this trouble plagued reform agenda back on track.
“However, the comments they are reported to have made to Four Corners will only serve to further undermine confidence in what is already a troubled process thanks to Labor’s mishandling.”