Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce faced media yesterday in Canberra to faces the issues that have arisen from the 4 Corners "Pumped" episode.
The Minister said the episode raised “serious concerns about water-theft”
“And just like there are cattle thieves and just like there are sheep thieves, there are car thieves, there are people who break into your house and there are people who steal water,” he said.
“And if you break the law - and that is an allegation, not a fact, it's an allegation - then you are going to be dealt with in the same process as any other criminal who steals things.”
Joyce had a crack at Shadow Water Minister Tony Burke by saying “Statements that are made about this having a massive effect on the Coorong just belies the facts,” he said.
“Anything else, I don't think, really assists the process and it's really for a political effect rather than dealing with the issues.”
However, Joyce declared that the allegations of illegal pumping were “certainly an issue and we're not dismissing that”
He mentioned that the issue of alleged pumping was more a local one “And the people who live around where that water may have been taken, all live in NSW,” he said.
“I'm just going to state the bleating obvious.
“When someone stands up and says, ‘This is going to have a huge effect on the Coorong and the lower lakes’ well, they're the numbers and if nothing else the numbers stand for themselves and it's just an erroneous statement, and an emotive statement and an incorrect statement.”
More to come..