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NSW gives details of ultimatum over water sharing plan

As part of the state government’s ultimatum, Mr Barilaro said the federal government must agree that NSW will not contribute to the 450 gigalitres of additional water recovery efforts.

NSW would also demand that barrages on the Lower Lakes be lifted to allow seawater back into Lake Alexandrina and transmission losses be taken into account as water returned to the environment.

The federal government must also agree that NSW water resource plans not be progressed until the drought has broken, Mr Barilaro said.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro has issued NSW's demands for the water sharing plan.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro has issued NSW’s demands for the water sharing plan. Credit:Louise Kennerley

A spokesman for Ms Pavey confirmed that federal Water Resources Minister David Littleproud wrote to his NSW counterparts late on Monday night.

Mr Littleproud’s letter says he has asked the interim inspector-general of Murray-Darling Basin Water Resources, Mick Keelty, to do an investigation into the management of the plan.

“As you well know, the ongoing drought conditions in many parts of the basin and the management of Murray-Darling Basin water resources remain of high community concern,” Mr Littleproud wrote.


“Since 2012, there have been a range of issues raised that go well beyond the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and into the management of water resources by both states individually and through the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement.

“There is growing concern that changes to water management over time have led to a range of impacts that have taken a toll on basin communities and irrigators.”

Mr Barilaro said the letter came after a convoy of farmers descended on Canberra on Monday, demanding the water-sharing plan be scrapped.

“It is the same argument we’ve been making for months and months … we just don’t have any more water to give,” he said.

We just don’t have any more water to give.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro

Ms Pavey said the Murray-Darling Plan was never “meant to be static”.

NSW and Victorian government agencies are reviewing the plan and are expected to report back next week.

Ms Pavey said the Berejiklian government was working with the Victorian Labor government on the plan because the issue was “above politics”.

Mr Barilaro was pressed on whether his repeated threats to pull out of the plan had cabinet support.

A spokesman for Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “This reflects the NSW government’s position.”

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