Melinda Pavey is a member of the National Party representing the seat of Oxley and has served as the New South Wales Minister for Water, Property and Housing since April 2019. Ms. Pavey previously served as Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. In August of 2022 Ms. Pavey announced she would not re-contest her seat in the NSW State Election.
In October of 2021 Ms. Pavey announced changes to regulations overseeing water capture, allowing farmers on the NSW North Coast to claim 30% of the water which falls on their lands compared to the previous 10%. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ms. Pavey stated that the Murray-Darling Basin plan required water savings which "just weren't possible" and labelled the savings criteria under the plan "environmental vandalism":
“We’re still committed to achieving water savings but we can’t do what the federal government and other states were asking us to do because it was environmental vandalism."
The decision was criticised by independent MP, Justin Field, who stated that a tripling of the water harvesting rights allocated to farmers would result in billions of litres of water removed from NSW's river systems and increase the risk of drought:
“Many coastal communities remember what it was like in the last drought when coastal rivers had almost no freshwater flows. It means they are more likely to run out of water in the next drought."
The changes followed an incident in August of 2019 where Ms. Pavey questioned the integrity of the Natural Resources Commission following the release of a report into the Barwon-Darling River. The report's findings claimed that the water management of the river had led to early drought conditions in the Lower Darling region.