Barnaby Joyce 'absolutely confident' water review will clear his name

FACING THE MUSIC: Water Minister David Littleproud and New England MP Barnaby Joyce front the crowd at the drought forum. Photo: Gareth Gardner
FACING THE MUSIC: Water Minister David Littleproud and New England MP Barnaby Joyce front the crowd at the drought forum. Photo: Gareth Gardner

BARNABY Joyce is "absolutely confident" he will be cleared by the Auditor-General's review in to a controversial $80-million water licence buyback, which he signed off on as the former Water Minister.

Yesterday in Tamworth, current Water Minister David Littleproud announced all water buybacks since 2008 would be investigated, to make sure due process had been followed.

Mr Littleproud said he was confident both "Barnaby and ministers before him have acted with integrity".

"I am confident of that, but I want to make sure I can give the community confidence in that as well," Mr Littleproud said.

"[This review] is so we can give confidence in the Murray Darling Basin Plan, I'm confident in delivering it, but I need to maintain that confidence to the Australian public."

Mr Joyce's actions have come under close scrutiny, with claims the government paid far too much for the water, to a company registered in the Cayman Islands, which was founded by Energy Minister Angus Taylor.

The New England MP said there was "no doubt" in his mind that everything about the 2017 deal had been above board.

"I am absolutely confident that we have done absolutely nothing wrong," Mr Joyce said.

"I'm quite happy for people to test the veracity of what I'm saying, to do so by whatever means they want."

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Mr Joyce reiterated he "was not involved in negotiations of price or of vendor", which was "done by the department at arm's length" to him.

"I took advice from a department, and I did not change that advice, and I had confidence that what they had done was a diligent and forensic process," Mr Joyce said.

"On their advice we went forward. My role was never to select a vendor or determine a price.

"I am completely confident that we worked within the legislation, I am completely confident in the department and I'm completely certain that this is just another Labor distraction."

Mr Littleproud and Mr Joyce also fronted the community at a drought forum, however requested questions not stray from the topic.

Former New England MP Tony Windsor asked Mr Littleproud if he would consider subsidising farmers who took on Multi-Peril Insurance (MPI), as a way of mitigating the impacts of climate change events.

Mr Littleproud said while he was supportive of MPI, he ruled it out.

"We can't afford to bank roll multi-national insurance companies," Mr Littleproud said.

He also fielded questions relating to dam construction, tackling climate change and drought-relief packages for small to medium businesses.

This story Barnaby Joyce 'absolutely confident' water review will clear his name first appeared on Walcha News.

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