Fury over poorly run MDB Plan meet­ings

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Find A -

SOUTH­ERN Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin com­mu­ni­ties are livid fed­eral of­fi­cials gave just days no­tice be­fore launch­ing cru­cial pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions on the most con­tentious part of the basin plan.

The Fed­eral De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Wa­ter Re­sources this week be­gan con­sul­ta­tion on the Mur­ray Dar­ling Basin Plan’s so­cio-eco­nomic test, which will be used to de­ter­mine what projects aimed at re­cov­er­ing an ex­tra 450 gi­gal­itres of wa­ter from farm­ers, can be done with­out harm­ing basin com­mu­ni­ties.

Basin min­is­ters, led by min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud, agreed in June that new cri­te­ria should be de­vel­oped ahead of the next min­is­te­rial meet­ing in De­cem­ber.

How­ever, the De­part­ment – which has em­ployed ru­ral con­sul­tants Seftons to run the con­sul­ta­tions – only re­leased dates of the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions last Thurs­day, with meet­ings be­gin­ning in Vic­to­ria on Mon­day.

Goul­burn Mur­ray Ir­ri­ga­tion Dis­trict wa­ter lead­er­ship fo­rum co-chair David McKen­zie said the con­sul­ta­tion was han­dled ap­pallingly.

“The way it’s been rolled out just yells that they (the De­part­ment) are avoid­ing con­fronta­tion,” he said.

“It’s bor­der­ing on con­tempt for com­mu­ni­ties... This is such a sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment in the fi­nal stage of the basin plan, that it’s so poorly han­dled speaks vol­umes.”

A de­part­ment spokesman said it was a “mean­ing­ful con­sul­ta­tion”, with 14 meet­ings in Vic­to­ria, NSW, Queens­land and South Aus­tralia in the com­ing three weeks.

No RSVP would be de­nied and peo­ple could also make a sub­mis­sion on­line, he said.

The spokesman said the de­part­ment sent out more than 400 in­vi­ta­tions to busi­nesses, in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions ad­vis­ing of the meet­ings, while Seftons would han­dle fur­ther pro­mo­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.