Deniliquin Pastoral Times

MDBA’s en­gage­ment ad­vice is a ‘joke’

- Australian Productivity Commission · Canberra

Dear Edi­tor,

I noted with in­ter­est that Dr Tariq Rana, of the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Au­thor­ity, ad­dressed an internatio­nal water and food sus­tain­abil­ity we­bi­nar on Au­gust 13, 2020.

He spoke about the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion, ca­pac­ity build­ing, shar­ing knowl­edge and in­for­ma­tion, and stake­holder en­gage­ment in re­spond­ing to the cur­rent and fu­ture chal­lenges posed by COVID-19.

If the MDBA is to give ad­vice in any of these ar­eas, it must be plan­ning a to­tally dif­fer­ent ap­proach to what we have seen in the past decade.

To me, it seems a bit of a joke that the MDBA is ad­vis­ing oth­ers on ‘stake­holder en­gage­ment’ and ‘ca­pac­ity build­ing’.

Its fail­ure in these ar­eas has been high­lighted of­ten, and has led to calls from the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion, echoed by politi­cians, for the MDBA to be dis­banded and ‘split up’.

It is in­deed a shame that the MDBA is so blink­ered in­side its Can­berra bub­ble that it can­not see its fail­ings, led by its con­stant re­fusal to ad­mit the Basin Plan has se­ri­ous short­com­ings which need to be ad­dressed.

These have been high­lighted in more than 100 re­ports and in­quiries, yet noth­ing hap­pens be­cause weak politi­cians are more wor­ried about the po­lit­i­cal con­se­quences than the pros­per­ity of our re­gions, which could get a sig­nif­i­cant boost if com­mon­sense pre­vailed and we all worked to­gether to achieve bal­anced and ef­fec­tive water man­age­ment.

Yours etc. Chris Black­berry

Kyabram

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