We want real consultation
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.