ALL government water licence buybacks since 2008 will be reviewed by the Auditor-General to make sure due process has been followed, the Water Minister has announced in Tamworth.
David Littleproud said he hoped the review would restore confidence following the controversy surrounding an almost $80-million purchase, which New England MP and former Water Minister Barnaby Joyce signed off on.
The deal has come under closely scrutiny, with claims the government paid far too much for the water, to a company registered in the Cayman Islands, which was founded by Energy Minister Angus Taylor.
Mr Littleproud said he wrote to the Auditor-General today requesting the investigation, to ensure all purchases from "all political parties were done in the right way".
"It's so we can give confidence in the Murray Darling Basin Plan, I'm confident in delivering it, but I need to maintain that confidence to the Australian public," Mr Littleproud told the Leader.
"It's the first time since federation that all states agree in the management of the basin - it's important we don't get it derailed, we continue to work through and make sure there is community confidence with in it."
Mr Littleproud said the review would be a particular focus on the larger purchases.
The Auditor-General will investigate if due process was followed, if it at arm's length from the government, and if the "department itself acted appropriately in terms of negotiations and identifying those licences".
The Leader asked Mr Littleproud if Mr Joyce should have checked where the money was going as the then Water for the nearly $80-million buyback.
"That's an investigation and review for the Auditor-General, to make sure due process was followed, that's what the Auditor-General will determine," Mr Littleproud said.
"I don't pass judgement on any pass minister, I know how challenging it can be. But there is a process in place and I am confident both Barnaby and ministers before him have acted with integrity.
"I am confident of that, but I want to make sure I can give the community confidence in that as well."
Mr Littleproud and Mr Joyce will attend a drought forum in Tamworth later today.