Knowles faces MGCC ques­tions

Southern Riverina news - - News -

THE Murray Group of Con­cerned Com­mu­ni­ties (MGCC) hosted a meet­ing with Murray Dar­ling Basin Au­thor­ity chair­man Craig Knowles in De­niliquin in Fri­day.

Mr Knowles re­sponded to a re­quest by the MGCC to pro­vide a brief­ing about the cur­rent sta­tus of the draft Murray Dar­ling Basin Plan, fol­low­ing re­ports in­di­cat­ing the Au­thor­ity was seek­ing to re­turn 2800GL of water to the

environment.

‘‘The meet­ing was pro­duc­tive and we have com­mit­ted to con­tinue and ex­pand our di­a­logue with the Au­thor­ity on a va­ri­ety of top­ics, all re­lated to the draft plan’s de­vel­op­ment - about which many ques­tions re­main,’’ Mr Simp­son said.

‘‘We ap­pre­ci­ate that Craig Knowles changed his sched­ule to give us his time to­day, recog­nis­ing how im­por­tant this is­sue is to our com­mu­nity.’’

Mr Simp­son said the is­sue of de­liv­er­abil­ity is still of ma­jor con­cern to the re­gion and the group was re­as­sured to hear that the Au­thor­ity is un­der­tak­ing mod­el­ling to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the de­liv­ery con­straints.

‘‘In our mind the guide (to the basin plan) was based around flood­ing vir­gin wet­lands, tak­ing no con­sid­er­a­tion of the third party im­pacts and the nat­u­ral re­stric­tions of the river, like the Barmah Choke,’’ he said.

‘‘We are glad to hear this is now be­ing recog­nised and ad­dressed and we look for­ward to see­ing and judg­ing the re­sults.’’

Mr Knowles also ex­plained his con­cept for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the basin plan, say­ing it is pro­posed to be a staged process to 2019.

‘‘There will be a mech­a­nism for a stock­take in 2015 to pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity for com­mu­ni­ties to prove that eco­log­i­cal ob­jec­tives are be­ing met with less water and prop­erly ac­count­ing for sav­ings cre­ated by in­fra­struc­ture and rule changes,’’ Mr Simp­son said.

‘‘The idea of a stock­take or re­view is pos­i­tive, and one which the MGCC sup­ports in prin­ci­ple.

‘‘How­ever, we need to see how it sits in the le­gal doc­u­ment. We need to know it is legally ro­bust and that the basin plan will be ad­justed in ac­cor­dance with the out­comes of it.’’

The Sil­ver Fox Quar­tet in Fin­ley re­cently.

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