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Closure of National Water Commission part of wider Coalition plan to shut down scrutiny

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 25 Jun 2014

The Greens say there is mounting evidence that the Liberal party is moving to shut down the independent oversight of water at a state and federal level.

Greens water spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon outlined this worrying trend in a major speech in the federal parliament .

"The Abbott government's recent decision to close down the National Water Commission follows the closure of state water oversight bodies," Senator Rhiannon said.

"Winding up the NSW Office of Water, the Queensland Water Commission and the National Water Commission is an orchestrated move by the state and Federal Liberal parties to avoid scrutiny of how our water resources are managed and protected.

"State Coalition governments are increasingly moving to reduce their water departments.

"The mining industry is the big beneficiary of the reduced oversight of water management.

"At a time when mining impacted communities are raising their concerns about threats to local water resources the closure of these water commissions is a huge setback.

"It's no coincidence that the government is shutting down the National Water Commission just as they are moving to change the management of the Murray Darling Basin and to gut the water trigger in the EPBC Act.

"At a time when conflicts around land-use, particularly mining, are on the increase the Coalition deregulation of water management is troubling.

"The federal government is also trying to hand control of the water trigger for coal seam gas and large mining projects over to the states - to the very governments which have allowed the irresponsible development of mining in the first place.

"The closure of the Water Commission is looking more and more like a deliberately calculated move that will benefit vested interests.

"Now, more than ever, we need independent oversight of the management of water resources," Senator Rhiannon said.

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