Michelle Lensink

Dr Paul Kerin

My question is to the Minister for Water and the River Murray about the CEO of ESCOSA's resignation.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The resignation letter of the former CEO of ESCOSA, Dr Paul Kerin, states in part:

…the  government and its senior bureaucrats have clearly demonstrated that they have no interest in genuine reform, nor in serving the long-term interests of consumers. Indeed, they have stymied all efforts on those fronts at every turn.  Furthermore, I have been appalled by the behaviours that both Ministers and senior bureaucrats have  engaged in to stymie those efforts. 

Minister, who was Dr Kerin talking about?
 
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER  (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation)  ( 14:40  ): The honourable member tries to draw me into a conversation about comments made in a letter to ESCOSA. I will not enter into those discussions. The honourable member—
 
The Hon. J.M.A. Lensink: So you’re refusing to answer.
 
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: No. Mr President, the honourable member wants to draw me into some inappropriate remarks and I am not prepared to do it.

Members interjecting: 
 
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER: The gentleman responded in a letter to ESCOSA, which he worked for; he put in that letter his political views about the world. He is fully entitled to have those political views. I do not share them.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK  ( 14:41  ): I have a supplementary question. How is it not appropriate for the minister to comment on a former water regulator when he is the Minister for Water?
 
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER  (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation)  ( 14:41  ): That is not what I said at all, Mr President.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK  ( 14:41  ): I have a further supplementary. When the former CEO talked about political interference, what was he referring to?

Members interjecting: 

The PRESIDENT: Order! The minister has the floor. 
 
The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) (14:41): I would have no idea what was in his mind at the time of writing that letter.

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