Independent candidate for Farrer Kevin Mack wants answers over #Watergate buy-back scandal. Photo: Wayne Jansson

Farmers are “angry” over allegations aired on The Project that record prices were paid by former Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce under the buy-back scheme to a company founded by current Energy Minister Angus Taylor.

No Fibs spoke with Independent candidate for the NSW rural electorate of Farrer, Kevin Mack (@Mack4Farrer), who said the level of outrage was already high before revelations about the Ministers’ behaviour were aired on Network Ten’s current affairs program on Thursday, April 18.

Mack told No Fibs the latest allegations surrounding Angus Taylor and Barnaby Joyce have increased the level of anger in the rural city of Griffith.

One guy was going around saying he wanted to burn the flag.

People are saying:-

They’re pirating water, they’re stealing water.

In the interview recorded with No Fibs Mr Mack said:-

If you read and listen to what was on with Angus Taylor, Barnaby Joyce and others in the Liberal Party, it would appear to be personal gain.

It’s off-farm water, it’s also floodplain water, it wasn’t even irrigated water. They’ve given them money for water that doesn’t exist but if it floods it could exist.

Kevin Mack

Mr Mack and a number of farmers in the rural electorate have long been calling for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) to be paused and reviewed, and ultimately a Royal Commission held — they have renewed and amplified their call, with Mr Mack saying:-

We need to be strong, like we’ve done with the banks, we need to understand whose fingers are in the pie.

Resignation questions

Under Barnaby Joyce’s oversight, the government paid Eastern Australia Agriculture $79 million via the water buy-back scheme in 2017, although the most recent allegations centre on that company having been founded by Angus Taylor with a holding company — Eastern Australian Irrigation — domiciled in the Cayman Islands.

In 2017 there were $200m in water buy-backs without an open tender process.

Mr Mack questioned why so many Coalition MP’s resigned before the election, saying:-

A percentage of those [that resigned] were in cabinet, and the cabinet were the people who authorised the purchase of water that went into Eastern Australian Agriculture that was previously fronted by Angus Taylor.

Earlier this month farmers heckled and booed the sitting Liberal Member for Farrer, Sussan Ley, calling for the MDBP to be paused.

Full interview podcast: Kevin Mack’s push to pause Basin plan: @jansant #FarrerVotes #Watergate #podcast