Time to stop playing politics with water

Questions have been raised over the failure to invite South Australian Liberal Party MPs to a joint press conference held by the State Government in response to allegations of water theft from the Murray Darling Basin.

During Estimates this week, Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick raised concerns about the Weatherill Government’s failure to seek a bipartisan approach on the water theft allegations

“The Shadow Minister for Environment David Speirs, has made it very clear that the State Liberals support a judicial inquiry,” said Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick.

“Minister Hunter claims the failure to invite the State Liberals to the press conference was a decision made in the best interests of Federal Liberal Senators. However, advice provided by River Murray community members is contradictory.

“As I understand it, some River Murray Irrigators were informed the Liberal Party would be represented at the press conference, yet this was not the case, and therefore I questioned the Minister on the matter during Estimates and his answers raised further concerns.”

Mr Hunter failed to provide an answer to Mr Pederick’s questions in Estimates:

Mr PEDERICK: I might ask a supplementary in regard to the media event yesterday regarding a probable judicial inquiry and the call for it. Did you, or a member of your staff, on Friday, advise River Murray community members that the Liberal Party were going to be part of that media event yesterday?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: As I have said, I was thinking about inviting federal Liberal senators, and that was our thinking right up until the last minute, when I decided that it would probably not be in their best interests for me to invite them.

Mr Hunter went on to say:

Mr PEDERICK: So, no-one was told that the Liberal Party would be represented?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: Well, I cannot comment, member for Hammond, on what you were told or what others were told: all I can comment on is what I know.