SA to fight High Court injunction which aims to ‘gag’ Basin bureaucrats

Updated June 14, 2018 15:21:18

The South Australian Government will fight a High Court injunction that it says aims to gag public servants from giving evidence in its Royal Commission into the Murray-Darling Basin.

The inquiry, to begin next week, will look at how water is being used and whether the states are honouring the basin plan.

Now, the Federal Government wants to prevent the Royal Commission from compelling testimony and documents from bureaucrats including Murray-Darling Basin Authority staff.

On Tuesday, the Commonwealth and the authority filed documents in the High Court seeking an injunction to prevent current and former federal staff from being compelled to testify.

South Australian Attorney-General Vickie Chapman she said she hoped other states would join SA in opposing the injunction.

“This is such an important issue for the enforceability and capacity to inquire when we are a party,” Ms Chapman said.

“The Royal Commission work will continue in the meantime with other witnesses with other witnesses who are not compelled and who are waiting lined up to give evidence.”

The inquiry wants to hear from the authority about its methods and obligations regarding water plans.