Despite Murray MP Helen Dalton voluntarily declaring her water license ownership, the Premier and Deputy Premier remain closed-lipped about explicitly making these declarations mandatory.
Instead, Deputy Premier John Barilaro responded to questions of "trust" by throwing back statements on the extent of Mrs Dalton's water ownership.
Mrs Dalton questioned what the government is "hiding" to have not made disclosures mandatory in their past nine years in power.
She has voluntarily declared close to $17 million in water ownership on her pecuniary interest register - based on the current trading rate, and urges other MPs to do the same.
Mr Barilaro's comment comes even after the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly's clerk sought legal advice after a number of members asked a "similar question" to Mrs Dalton's.
Ministers and MPs are required to account for their personal and pecuniary interests. Helen Dalton is expected to do the same, especially given her multi-million dollar water entitlements.John Barilaro
When asked by The Area News why the community should trust the MPs to voluntarily disclose water interests, especially in light of scandals including the resignation of the Liberal's Daryl Maguire over corruption, Mr Barilaro said:
"Ministers and MPs are required to account for their personal and pecuniary interests. Helen Dalton is expected to do the same, especially given her multi-million dollar water entitlements."
The legal advice released on Tuesday from the Crown Solicitor on an "urgent" basis outlines water licences issued under the Water Act 1912 need to be declared, however said it was "less clear" about the disclosure of the Water Management Act 2000 licences.
"There is no obligation to disclose a Water Access Licence obtained under the Water Management Act 2000, [where] The vast majority of water licences are obtained," Mrs Dalton said.
The advice said income made from either licence over $500 must be disclosed.
The memorandum, sent to all MPs, stressed the need for members to seek their own legal advice.
Mrs Dalton said "on the actual pecuniary interest form that MPs fill out, that word 'water' is not even mentioned."
She also outlined the process of getting a water licence made it possible for buyers to hide their identity.
Her introduction of her bill to parliament, hoped for nearly next year, she seeks to "end the secrecy" surrounding water ownership in NSW, by forcing NSW politicians to declare their water interests on our conflict of interest form, changing the application process for getting a water licence so people can't hide their identity when they apply for their licence.
It would also change the online water register to allow people to search for water holdings of people, companies and government departments.
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