Saturday, 9th September, 2017
By Daniel Stringer
The NSW Govern-ment have again failed to release the findings from the Ken Matthews inquiry into water theft, much to Labor’s frustration.
Ken Matthews has completed his investigation into the allegations of water mismanagement and has delivered the interim report to the State Government.
Despite this, the Government are continuing to hold off on releasing the report to the public.
There was speculation that the findings of the report could have been tabled during yesterday’s budget estimates hearing, however the absence of Water Minister Niall Blair dismissed any hope of that.
Blair is currently in China for trade talks, meaning discussions on water were limited.
The decision was not received well amongst the opposition, with Shadow Water Minister, Chris Minns, saying Blair’s absence shouldn’t have impacted the release of the report.
“Mr Matthews has finished his inquiry and handed down his report, so there is no reason why the government shouldn’t make the findings public immediately,” Mr Minns said.
“There is no excuse or reason for the Government or the Department to place the report in their bottom draw and insist on further delays in its release.
“Niall Blair can’t blame Ken Matthews for this latest delay, his foreign adventures are the cause of this delay.”
This is now the second time the interim report has been delayed, as the initial findings were due to be handed down on September 1.
With so much attention surrounding the outcome of the investigation, Mr Minns says the added delay will only fuel people’s scepticism.
“There is enormous scepticism about this report to begin with from communities in far Western NSW and the flimsy excuse for this latest delay will add to the scepticism.
“Niall Blair was supposed to have commissioned an independent report, if this is true then it makes no difference where in the world he currently is, he does not need to be in the country when the report is released.
“Far Western NSW has waited long enough; Niall Blair must demand that his department release the report today.”
The State Government has not indicated when they will make the findings of the interim report public.