Murray Group commissions socio-economic report
An independent study will be undertaken into the social and economic impacts of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan on the NSW Murray Valley region.
It will be prepared by agricultural and economic consultancy firm RMCG, which has experience in compiling similar studies.
RMCG has been appointed by the Murray Group — comprising representatives of Southern Riverina Irrigators, Murray Valley Private Diverters and Murray Irrigation Ltd. — following a meeting last month.
The Murray Group is seeking community partners to co-fund the project to ensure it is a broad-based study across industries and inclusive of the value-add chain.
Edward River Council has responded quickly to requests for financial support for the project agreeing to contribute $15,000.
Other organisations are currently considering the proposal.
Murray Group spokesperson Sally Dye said it was important to get an independent assessment on the social and economic impacts of the Basin Plan.
‘‘RMG conducted a similar study in the Goulburn Murray region of Victoria which provided valuable information to decisionmakers on how the plan is affecting regional communities,’’ she said.
‘‘We cannot go to politicians and tell them we believe the plan has had an impact without being able to provide evidence.
‘‘This study will give us a much clearer picture of what social and economic effects are occurring, if any, in our region as a consequence of the plan.
‘‘If the report’s findings are along the lines of what anecdotal evidence is telling us, we believe it will be a valuable tool that can be used in our efforts to educate decision makers about the Basin Plan’s consequen- ces, and hopefully lead to a more balanced plan that protects our communities, as well as the environment.’’
Mrs Dye added Murray Group appreciates the support of Edward River Council and hopes other organisations will assist in its call for funding.
‘‘A study of this nature is an expensive exercise, but we believe it is a worthwhile investment because we will have firm data to support any argument for governments to ensure social and economic impacts of the plan are minimised.
‘‘The study will cover the New South Wales central Murray region, including the Murray Irrigation footprint, so we hope local government, businesses and community organisations will get on board and assist our efforts.’’
The study will take place in four stages — a production impact analysis, followed by impacts to the regional economy, the social and community impacts, and supply system viability.
‘‘To this point no socio-economic study has been conducted across the entire NSW Murray, despite this being the most impacted area of the entire Murray-Darling Basin both in terms of water removed from agricultural production and potential effects from flooding,’’ Mrs Dye said.
‘‘The MDBA is conducting a Southern Basin review next year, but we believe it is important to have an independent assessment for our region.’’
Mrs Dye said requests to assist with funding had been sent to local government and business organisations throughout the region.
Any other business, group or individual which would like to assist is asked to email email@example.com.