Bigger meeting than Griffith
Murray Group of Concerned Communities chairman Bruce Simpson does not believe the draft basin plan is as ‘‘explicit’’ about infrastructure as Craig Knowles says.
Both men spoke at Friday’s basin plan consultation meeting in Deniliquin.
Mr Knowles, chairman of the Murray Darling Basin Authority, repeatedly stated at that the plan has a ‘‘bias towards infrastructure’’, as opposed to buybacks.
‘‘I wouldn’t be as confident as Craig Knowles,’’ Mr Simpson said.
However, he was pleased with the number of people that attended the event.
‘‘On a per capita basis there were more people at the Deniliquin meeting than at the Griffith meeting,’’ he said.
Mr Simpson said 10 per cent of the region’s population of 30,000 were at the racecourse.
‘‘If that doesn’t send a message, what will?’’ he asked.
‘‘If you had 10 per cent of Melbourne’s population at a rally, that would fill the MCG four times. It would roll the government and kill the issue.’’
He said it was ‘‘excellent’’ the community rallied together.
‘‘The quality of the behaviour, the quality of the presentations, the numbers, all added up to provide a real impact on the minister and on Craig Knowles.
‘‘The challenge now is to maintain that pressure.’’
Throughout the meeting Mr Knowles and Mr Burke were repeatedly challenged about the constraints of delivering environmental water without causing floods.
‘‘I think they’re recognising it (people’s flooding concerns) in their dialogue but I’m not sure that they understand the impracticalities of it yet,’’ Mr Simpson said.
‘‘I believe they’re taking it on board.
‘‘How that ultimately plays out is another thing.’’
‘‘We’ve to acknowledge again, they’re starting to talk the way we want them to talk.’’
Mr Simpson said the next step would be to ‘‘enjoy Christmas’’.
‘‘Secondly, we’re organising meetings during January with a number of the government ministers’ officers,’’ he said.
‘‘We will continue to pursue having a meeting with Burke’s office.
‘‘We are proposing to write to both Burke and Knowles, asking them both to respond with how they interpreted the meeting.’’
Kel Baxter addresses Tony Burke and Craig Knowles.
Murray Irrigation Ltd general manager Anthony Couroupis with Marie Farrell.