Of­fi­cer re­moval fur­ther dam­ages con­fi­dence

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - NEWS -

It’s hard to keep faith that lo­cal con­cerns are be­ing heard in the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Plan de­ci­sion mak­ing process.

It’s even harder now this com­mu­nity’s di­rect con­nec­tion to the de­ci­sion mak­ers has been taken out of the NSW Mur­ray Val­ley.

For the past three years De­niliquin and district has had ac­cess to a De­niliquin-based Com­mon­wealth En­vi­ron­men­tal Wa­ter Of­fice lo­cal en­gage­ment of­fi­cer.

We’re now be­ing told our ‘lo­cal’ con­tact is in either Wagga or Wodonga.

As long-time Basin Plan bal­ance cam­paigner John Loli­cato asks (page 3), ‘how much fur­ther from the heat do they want to get?’

There are stud­ies which clearly in­di­cate De­niliquin and the NSW Mur­ray are most heav­ily im­pacted by this plan to re­move a min­i­mum of 2750 gi­gal­itres of pro­duc­tive wa­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment.

This is recog­nised by NSW Min­is­ter for Wa­ter Niall Blair and re­port­edly also by Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Author­ity se­nior eco­nomic ad­viser Phil Townsend.

So why do we not get a per­ma­nent en­gage­ment of­fi­cer in De­niliquin?

When we asked the CEWO, ‘‘What are the rea­sons be­hind De­nili- quin not be­ing the per­ma­nent lo­ca­tion?’’ we re­ceived no di­rect an­swer.

Un­for­tu­nately, it’s the re­sponse we have come to ex­pect in this Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Plan process — no real re­sponse at all.

There are some who be­lieve the de­ci­sion to take the en­gage­ment of­fi­cer out of De­niliquin is pun­ish­ment for be­ing so vo­cal on the flaws as­so­ci­ated with the Basin Plan — es­pe­cially the lack of at­ten­tion to the con­se­quences of re­mov­ing pro­duc­tive wa­ter from com­mu­nity and the per­cep­tion that flawed sci­ence is be­ing used to de­ter­mine how and where en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter is de­liv­ered.

But in­stead of hav­ing some­one in the com­mu­nity ex­plain­ing and con­sult­ing on their de­ci­sions, and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the real life im­pacts of those de­ci­sions on lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, our lo­cal ac­cess is moved more than 200km away.

It is not good enough, and does noth­ing to al­lay con­cerns this re­gion’s voice is not be­ing heard.

Se­ri­ous ques­tions about the CEWO must con­tinue to be raised. In the past, the Com­mon­wealth En­vi­ron­men­tal Wa­ter Holder David Papps has been less than com­pli­men­tary in his com­ments about the Pas­toral Times for re­port­ing on as­pects of Basin Plan, and the man­ner in which he has re­sponded to lo­cal com­ment has been of ex­treme con­cern.

This lat­est de­ci­sion is a fur­ther snub of our re­gion from his of­fice.

When in De­niliquin in Fe­bru­ary, MDBA chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Phillip Glyde said it was good for his ‘‘peo­ple to get out of Can­berra’’ and con­firmed a re­gional of­fice for the author­ity was still high on his agenda.

An­other year, an­other lack of ac­tion. It’s now time to de­liver.

The MDBA must step up to the plate and com­mit to open­ing this re­gional of­fice in De­niliquin and at­tempt to re­store con­fi­dence that re­gions most im­pacted by its work mat­ter and will be heard.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.