We want real con­sul­ta­tion

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - REAL ESTATE -

Step 9: Trans­parency and Con­sul­ta­tion – En­sure hon­esty and trans­parency in con­sult­ing and re­port­ing in­clud­ing neg­a­tive and pos­i­tive out­comes across so­cial, eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems.

The lack of trans­parency and con­sul­ta­tion has be­come an on­go­ing is­sue with im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Plan.

At MDBA and state level there has been a re­luc­tance to in­volve lo­cal so­lu­tions or work with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to achieve suc­cess­ful out­comes.

To this point com­mu­ni­ties view the lim­ited con­sul­ta­tion as be­ing merely a process of tick­ing boxes.

On the rare oc­ca­sions when there is an at­tempt at what au­thor­i­ties call ‘con­sul­ta­tion’ it is more a sit­u­a­tion of ‘this is what we are go­ing to do’, rather than a gen­uine at­tempt at in­clud­ing lo­cal­ism in gen­uine so­lu­tions.

The Mur­ray Group is call­ing on fed­eral

The Pas­toral Times is pub­lish­ing a se­ries of ar­ti­cles ex­plain­ing the ‘Mur­ray Mes­sages – Ten Steps to a Sus­tain­able and Bal­anced Basin Plan’, which have been de­vel­oped by the Mur­ray Group. This is Step 9 . . .

and state gov­ern­ments to be com­pletely trans­par­ent and en­gage in full con­sul­ta­tion di­rectly with af­fected peo­ple and stake­hold­ers of all MDBP im­ple­men­ta­tion de­ci­sions.

They must also adopt the con­cept of ‘lo­cal­ism’ in de­ci­sions as promised to re­build lev­els of con­fi­dence.

The mon­i­tor­ing, eval­u­a­tion and re­port­ing of en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter must in­clude neg­a­tives and pos­i­tives, al­low­ing adap­tive man­age­ment and cost:ben­e­fit anal­y­sis.

The de­vel­op­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion phase of the Basin Plan has been ac­com­pa­nied by strong crit­i­cism from af­fected re­gional com­mu­ni­ties, due to lack of trans­parency and con­sul­ta­tion.

This is de­spite the fact there are many ex­am­ples where com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion and sup­port in nat­u­ral re­source plans have de­liv­ered sus­tain­able out­comes at re­duced cost to gov­ern­ments.

In­cor­po­rat­ing com­mu­nity in­volve­ment in de­ci­sions from pre­lim­i­nary to fi­nal stages also en­cour­ages long term com­mit­ment, pro­vid­ing mon­i­tor­ing by lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties when gov­ern­ment fund­ing for pro­grams is re­duced.

Put sim­ply, the Basin Plan has been ac­com­pa­nied by lack of trans­parency and com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion has not met com­mu­nity ex­pec­ta­tions.

This may have long term detri­men­tal ef­fects on ex­ist­ing and fu­ture nat­u­ral re­source man­age­ment pro­grams.

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