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Gladys Berejiklian's Response to the 2018-19 Menindee Fish Kills

On January 15th of 2019, then-NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian spoke to media about the recent fish kills in the Murray Darling river system.

A photo of the Menindee river system filled with dead fish alongside Gladys Berejiklian helping some local children to pour Murray Cod fingerlings back into the river.

When asked if there was anything in hindsight that the state government could have done to prevent the kills, Ms. Berejkilain responded:

“Well obviously we’re conducting all of those urgent inquiries and reports as we speak. There’s nothing to suggest at this stage there is anything we could’ve done. It’s beyond our capacity when natural disaster strikes in that way but of course we're working hard to make sure we mitigate any further exacerbation of what is really an environmental disaster.”

Roughly two weeks later, Ms. Berejiklian “deflected” criticism regarding her refusal to visit the site of the fish kills in Menindee stating she cares “more about people.”:

"Of course I care about the fish, but can [I] be honest? I care more about people…I’m going to give you my honest answer… Sometimes we are talking about communities of a couple of hundred people, that’s my priority to make sure there’s water security now and into the future and I’ll continue to be on the job."

Ms. Berejiklian visited Menindee in December of 2020 along with then-NSW Agriculture Minister, Adam Marshall. The visit coincided with tens of thousands of Murray Cod fingerlings, the offspring of 70 Murray Cod which had been rescued during the fish kills.

Resident of Menindee, Graeme McCrabb, met with both Ms. Berejiklian and Mr Marshall during the visit, but described the event as a "flag-waving exercise" and called such events a waste of time: .

"We're standing here in one of the most pristine places that has supplied fish to the whole basin for generations…After a Basin Plan spending billions of dollars, we're now reduced to delivering fish in a truck from Narrandera.

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