There is an urgent need to establish a National Integrity Commission to investigate, expose and prevent corruption at the federal level.
Numerous scandals, maladministration, unlawful activity, rorting, favouritism, and collusion, combined with a lack of transparency has led to a public perception of water governance being vulnerable to corruption.
Widespread calls for a Royal Commission into water management have been refused by the federal government.
- The price paid by the Commonwealth government for water purchased from a company previously associated with a federal minister far exceeded the market value.
- Commonwealth government ‘strategic’ purchases of water in the Northern Basin paid exorbitant prices for low security, highly unreliable water.
- Compliance and monitoring and metering requirements have been lacklustre or non-existent, leading to water theft and widespread perception of regulatory capture favouring irrigation over the environment and public interest.
- Federal and state governments prohibited departmental representatives giving evidence at the South Australian Royal Commission. They have failed to respond to the Commission’s findings and recommendations.
- Uncontrolled floodplain harvesting in NSW and Queensland has diverted huge volumes of water away from rivers, undermining the Basin Plan.
- Funds intended to return water to stressed rivers have been reallocated to projects with minimal requirements to recover water and maximum benefits to irrigators.
- Establishment of a National Integrity Commission capable of investigating these allegations against both public servants and politicians.
- The water ministry must be separated from the agriculture department and returned to the environment department.
- In any Coalition government, potential serious conflicts of interest dictate the Nationals should not be assigned the water portfolio.