The former managing director of Goulburn-Murray Water and NSW top water bureaucrat Gavin Hanlon has been stood down amid allegations of misconduct.
Mr Hanlon, who held the managing director job at Goulburn-Murray Water from 2011 to 2014, was stood down last week after he was allegedly recorded by ABC’s Four Corners helping people undermine the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
A report by former National Water Commission head Ken Matthews found Mr Hanlon appeared to have breached government guidelines by sharing confidential government information with irrigators.
Along with Mr Matthews’ probe, the allegations of water theft had been referred to the state’s Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Following the fallout from the ABC program, State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed repeated her call for a full-scale independent investigation into allegations of water theft in the northern basin.
Ms Sheed and Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville have both raised the need for an independent inquiry with the Federal Government.
‘‘The integrity of governance and government agencies associated with the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has been seriously questioned and I have personally written to the Prime Minister, urging him to help restore the confidence of our southern basin communities by committing to a proper inquiry,’’ Ms Sheed said.
She said it was important to get to the bottom of the allegations as communities in the southern basin were already being hit hard by the plan.
The National Irrigators Council has broadly endorsed Mr Matthews’ report principles around compliance and greater transparency.
‘‘At the time allegations on compliance in the northern basin were raised, I made it very clear that it was critical that everyone have confidence that water was going where it was intended,’’ NIC chief executive officer Steve Whan said.
‘‘Compliance is as important for water users as it is for the general community.’’
To date, there are five separate inquiries or reviews that have been proposed, launched, or widened to address issues raised in the Four Corners program.