The SA Government will fight a High Court injunction which would see federal public servants and members of the Murray Darling Basin Authority avoid giving evidence at the Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin.
With the inquiry beginning next week, the Federal Government this week filed documents with the High Court seeking an injunction to prevent current and former staff from testifying about allegations of water theft and mismanagement of the plan. In a joint statement, the Commonwealth Government and basin authority said: “The Commonwealth and MDBA’s view is that the Royal Commission cannot compel the Commonwealth or the MDBA to provide documents or give evidence.”
The SA Attorney general Vickie Chapman says if they can’t stop the injunction then the viability of the entire Royal Commission would be in doubt. The move comes despite a promise from the Commonwealth that they wouldn’t stand in the way of the inquiry when it was announced last year.
SA-BEST today labelled the Federal Government challenge “an act of treachery, contempt and bastardry”.
“Mr Littleproud's decision to go to the High Court is a clear indication the Commonwealth has a lot to hide,” said SA Best MLC Frank Pangallo.
“I am suspicious about his intentions. He appears to be protecting his National Party mates who want to see the Murray Darling Basin Plan collapse.
“Last year, ABC’s Four Corners program exposed the outrageous rorting and water theft going on unchallenged in upstream states.
“The Federal Government - under Barnaby Joyce's watch as Minister - and the NSW Government were utterly dismissive of the allegations, and continue to have no regard to protecting South Australia's interests.”