Groups call for ‘pause’

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

Com­mu­nity groups and busi­nesses have joined forces to again call for the Basin Plan to be paused.

They is­sued a state­ment last week and are propos­ing a se­ries of pub­lic meet­ings to seek com­mu­nity sup­port.

The state­ment has been signed by sev­eral coun­cils, in­clud­ing Ed­ward River and Mur­ray River Coun­cils, and the Mur­ray Re­gional Strat­egy Group which rep­re­sents ir­ri­ga­tor, com­mu­nity and Indige­nous or­gan­i­sa­tions. A to­tal of 24 groups and busi­nesses have signed it.

It says, “we call for an im­me­di­ate pause to the Basin Plan”, stat­ing a cool­ing off pe­riod would en­able a com­pre­hen­sive re­view of the plan to “re­store con­fi­dence to those com­mu­ni­ties who live within the Basin and are most af­fected by its im­ple­men­ta­tion”.

It says paus­ing the plan would “al­low for a proper and timely assess­ment as to the ef­fec­tive­ness and out­comes of the plan”.

The state­ment goes on to say: “The cur­rent plan is not work­ing. It is fail­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and fail­ing re­gional Aus­tralia. The Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Au­thor­ity’s own web­site states that the aim of the plan is to en­sure that wa­ter is shared be­tween all users, in­clud­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, in a sus­tain­able way. By any ob­jec­tive mea­sure, this is not hap­pen­ing.

“The en­vi­ron­men­tal fail­ures have never been more ev­i­dent and will only get worse. The so­cioe­co­nomic fail­ures are al­ready be­ing felt through­out the com­mu­ni­ties of the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin and will only be­come worse.

“Nu­mer­ous in­de­pen­dent re­ports have iden­ti­fied prob­lems with the plan as a whole and as­pects of its im­ple­men­ta­tion. All have found se­ri­ous and on­go­ing con­cerns re­gard­ing the im­pact of the plan on the en­vi­ron­ment and the re­gional and Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties who live in and de­pend on the Basin.

“To try and ad­dress th­ese is­sues with­out ap­pro­pri­ate anal­y­sis in or­der to meet an ar­ti­fi­cial ‘dead­line’ is both wrong and disin­gen­u­ous.

“Those elected to rep­re­sent us in all par­lia­ments and from all po­lit­i­cal par­ties need to look at the grow­ing em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence from all sec­tors af­fected by the plan and, for once, do the right thing by your fel­low Aus­tralians.

“We urge you to com­mit to paus­ing and re­view­ing the Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Plan im­me­di­ately,’’ the state­ment says.

De­tails of com­mu­nity meet­ings are ex­pected to be re­lease soon.

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