Better engagement with basin communities is the way forward for Murray Darling Basin
THE Murray Darling Basin Authority’s (MDBA) recent announcement that it will decentralise some of its functions has been welcomed by the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) with the lobby group believing the move will better connect the authority with basin communities.
VFF water council chairman Richard Anderson said the VFF sees the decentralisation move as an opportunity for the interests of Victorian river communities to be better considered in the rollout of the basin plan.
“The MDBA has always been criticised for sitting in an ‘ivory tower’ in Canberra and not understanding basin communities or how the basin plan is impacting them,” he said.
“We’ve said for a long time that the MDBA should be decentralised.
“It has taken four years living under the basin plan for the MDBA to understand that connection to communities is essential in basin plan roll-out.
“Pulling river operations out of Canberra is the obvious first step and there are a number of Victorian river communities that are prime candidates to host a new office,” Mr Anderson said.
Analysis released this month showed the basin plan had caused job losses and negative social impacts in northern basin communities.
“I think these figures have encouraged this move to shift jobs to the regions.
“The MDBA needs to immerse themselves in basin communities to really understand what the basin plan implementation means for these communities and build this into their work going forward.
“What we would like to see from this move is better use of local knowledge in basin plan implementation and improved engagement with basin communities,” Mr Anderson added.