Im­pact study

Mur­ray Group com­mis­sions so­cio-eco­nomic re­port

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE -

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 sri.deni@big­

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