A clear majority of the NSW Legislative Assembly has voted to take note of a community petition calling for a water register and a royal commission.
Introduced by Murray MP Helen Dalton, it is yet to be decided if her vote will count after an anonymous MP objected to her involvement on the basis of a conflict of interest.
Earlier in the week, Nationals MP formally objected to the Speaker of the House on Mrs Dalton introducing and voting on the 11,000-strong petition.
Mrs Dalton said she is the only Member of the House to have declared her water interests, and this was an attempt to block debate to protect politicians and donors who own water but have not declared it.
"This is a democracy, and I am really quite shocked to hear that a National MP is trying to really obstruct this democratic process," she said.
Watch Mrs Dalton's press conference from today below:
Just hours before the debate at 4pm on Thursday, Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro and Water Minister Melinda Pavey confirmed their support for the petition.
"Today I have met with some of these irrigators, who are at breaking point, and I confirmed that the NSW Nationals support the petition, to which they are signatories, and calls for a Royal Commission and National Water Register," Mr Barilaro said.
They said the petition signed by concerned irrigators, some of whom they'd met with that day, represents the undeniable need for greater transparency across the Murray Darling Basin.
"NSW has done a lot of the heavy lifting. With the support of local communities we will work towards delivering projects which enable good environmental, social and economic outcomes to be achieved," Mrs Pavey said.
"We are concerned that key NSW environmental assets like the Barmah Choke are being run too hard and are in danger of irreversibility damaged if unrealistic timeframes and community concerns around programs like the Constraints Management Strategy aren't taken into consideration."
One of five speakers to address the gallery, Ms Pavey said the desperation of irrigators was clear, due the fact some had elected "the millionaire for Murray" as their representative.
[She pits] farmer against farmer, community against community, whipping up a social media lynch mob.Melinda Pavey on Helen Dalton
"[She pits] farmer against farmer, community against community, whipping up a social media lynch mob," Ms Pavey said.
In reply, Mrs Dalton said Ms Pavey could make "personal attacks and smears" but was incapable of making decisions, hiding behind other department officials and ignoring the media in response to an embargo lift in the Northern Basin.
"All she can do is make personal attacks and smears... Trust in this government has been eroded," Mrs Dalton said in her reply.
Mrs Dalton also called the Nationals Party "schizophrenic" in their support of a royal commission, and their lack of action on transparency for nine years.