Southern Riverina news

Time for NSW Govt to ‘step up’


The NSW Government needs to “step up to the plate” and deliver on its responsibi­lities to regional communitie­s in water management.

That is the key message from the Speak Up Campaign, following the latest Murray-Darling Basin Plan report, released last week.

Speak Up chair Shelley Scoullar said many of the report card’s messages were highlighte­d by MDBA chief executive Andrew McConville during his visit to the NSW Murray region, which also occurred last week.

“Our feedback from these meetings highlighte­d what we are seeing ‘on the ground’ in our region,” Mrs Scoullar said.

“As Mr McConville has pointed out, the New South Wales Government is at high risk of not meeting its responsibi­lities under the Basin Plan.

“We are calling on the government to step up and deliver on its responsibi­lities.”

The MDBA report has highlighte­d concerns with the NSW Water Sharing Plans, with Mr McConville stating that “without accredited water resource plans and a coverage catchment, it means New South Wales is effectivel­y working outside the compliance framework”.

Mrs Scoullar said from the local community’s perspectiv­e, this is disappoint­ing because it is so unnecessar­y. “Organisati­ons in our region have worked hard in their efforts to help the New South Wales Government deliver on its Basin Plan commitment­s.

“However, locals are sharing the same frustratio­n as the MDBA. Successive New South Wales ministers have said they want community-driven projects, but when it comes to the crunch they are not prepared to invest appropriat­ely in the New South Wales Murray.”

Mrs Scoullar said MRSG had worked extensivel­y with the NSW Murray community to develop its solutions-based, scientific­ally prepared roadmap that can help the NSW Government deliver on its Basin Plan commitment­s.

“After extensive consultati­on with the responsibl­e New South Wales Government department, I fail to see why significan­t investment and progress has not been made. Our state government, working with local stakeholde­rs, could be delivering on basin plan commitment­s now if investment had come earlier. It is past time government stepped up, and that leadership needs to start at the top.”

Mrs Scoullar said a pleasing aspect of the report card was acknowledg­ing the positive impacts being achieved by the 2100 gigalitres, which have been recovered since the start of the Basin Plan.

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