Bet­ter en­gage­ment with basin com­mu­ni­ties is the way for­ward for Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS -

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.

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