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Misconduct probe

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September 12, 2017

Former managing director of Goulburn-Murray Water Gavin Hanlon.

The former managing director of Goulburn-Murray Water has been stood down amid allegations of misconduct.

NSW top water bureaucrat Gavin Hanlon was stood down yesterday after he was allegedly recorded by ABC’s Four Corners helping people undermine the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Hanlon previously held the managing director job at Goulburn-Murray Water from 2011 to 2014.

A report by the former head of the National Water Commission Ken Matthews found Mr Hanlon appeared to have breached government guidelines by sharing confidential government information with irrigators.

NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said misconduct proceedings would start against Mr Hanlon after the release of the report.

It comes as Independent Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed repeats her call for a full-scale independent investigation into allegations of water theft in the northern basin.

Ms Sheed said it was important to get to the bottom of the allegations as communities in the southern basin were already being his hard by the basin plan.

‘‘It’s certainly concerning to see the significant findings that have been made,’’ Ms Sheed said.

‘‘I think irrigators have every fight to feel disgruntled at actions that seem to show a complete disregard as to how the (Murray-Darling Basin) Plan is meant to work.’’

She said an independent, basin-wide inquiry was needed and she had raised the issue in a letter to the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Murray Darling Association president David Thurley said more needed to be done to restore confidence in water compliance in the basin.

‘‘The report outlines a way forward for water compliance in the Murray-Darling Basin that could go a long way toward restoring public confidence in the plan,’’ Mr Thurley said.

‘‘The MDA also backs Mr Matthews’ support for concurrent inquiries, including an ICAC investigation confirmed on August 24, to thoroughly and strongly review all the allegations made and to look at the culture of the relevant government departments.’’

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