Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Keen to work together for solutions
The Murray Regional Strategy Group is hopeful last week’s visit from Sir Angus Houston is the start of a new and productive relationship with the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
The MRSG’s newly appointed chair Geoff Moar and outgoing chair Alan Mathers met with Sir Angus last Tuesday evening in Deniliquin.
‘‘Our door has always been open to the Murray Darling Basin Authority, and we are keen to work with the MDBA on achievable solutions to water management in our region,’’ Mr Moar said.
‘‘The MRSG was formed because politicians advised us that we needed a united approach from this region on water issues, providing one key group that government representatives could deal with.
‘‘From our perspective there had been ongoing concern for many years around the lack of community input into decisionmaking. We are hoping this week is a catalyst to change this.’’
Mr Moar pointed out the Murray Valley was the most severely impacted region from Basin Plan implementation, having lost 30 per cent of its productive water from environmental water recovery programs.
‘‘We are seeing environmental, social and economic destruction from this plan, which has not delivered the adaptability or ‘triple bottom line’ that was promised.
‘‘The MDBA has not put enough time into engaging with our communities and this needs to change.
‘‘Sir Angus has made a commitment to return to the region, which we welcome. We are ready and willing to engage and work with the MDBA on long-term sustainable solutions.’’
During the MDBA chair’s visit he met with various farming and advocacy groups, many of which are MRSG members.
‘‘Individual organisations have their own specific priorities and issues. Our role is to build consensus in key areas of water management, which has been achieved.
‘‘We encourage the MDBA and governments to continue working with us, so the serious negative and often unintended consequences of the Basin Plan can be addressed.
‘‘Sir Angus was attentive and amicable. We appreciate the time and effort he is putting into his new role and look forward to continuing to work with him for the benefit of the region and our nation’s food producing capabilities.’’