Con­cerns for fu­ture of wa­ter, com­mu­ni­ties

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

De­ci­sions made this week could make or break some of Aus­tralia’s ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

De­spite the enor­mity of these de­ci­sions, com­mu­ni­ties at risk are con­cerned govern­ment min­is­ters will not be fully in­formed.

The may­ors of four lo­cal govern­ment ar­eas in south­ern NSW have joined forces to call for ab­so­lute trans­parency, es­pe­cially from Fed­eral Wa­ter Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud.

Mr Lit­tleproud will sit around the ta­ble in Mel­bourne on Fri­day with state wa­ter min­is­ters and Mur­ray-Dar­ling Basin Au­thor­ity bu­reau­crats and rep­re­sen­ta­tives to dis­cuss ad­di­tional wa­ter re­cov­ery un­der the basin plan.

There is a leg­is­lated com­mit­ment that none of this wa­ter will be re­cov­ered if it could lead to ad­verse im­pacts on af­fected com­mu­ni­ties.

May­ors who want this prom­ise up­held are Cr Norm Bren­nan (Ed­ward River Coun­cil), Cr Chris Bilkey (Mur­ray River Coun­cil), Cr Matt Han­nan (Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil) and Cr Ruth McRae (Mur­rumbidgee Shire Coun­cil).

They still have se­ri­ous con­cerns that de­spite un­equiv­o­cal ev­i­dence that re­cov­er­ing more wa­ter with­out fur­ther job losses and eco­nomic pain was sim­ply not pos­si­ble, Mr Lit­tleproud con­tin­ues to sup­port this wa­ter re­cov­ery.

They are also wor­ried about trans­parency around in­for­ma­tion that will be pro­vided to wa­ter min­is­ters, con­sid­er­ing it has been sadly lack­ing through­out the basin plan process.

‘‘Get­ting the de­ci­sions right at Fri­day’s meet­ing of wa­ter min­is­ters is vi­tal to our com­mu­ni­ties. It’s make or break for many of us,’’ the may­ors said col­lec­tively.

They are con­cerned wa­ter min­is­ters will not be well armed with the views of basin com­mu­ni­ties, be­cause in the past in­for­ma­tion from so­called con­sul­ta­tion ses­sions has been ‘‘cher­ryp­icked to suit the agenda’’.

‘‘We be­lieve a re­port on com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion from Sefton and As­so­ciates will be pre­sented to min­is­ters this week,’’ they said.

‘‘Our com­mu­ni­ties need to see a copy of this re­port to en­sure it ac­cu­rately en­cap­su­lates the mes­sages we de­liv­ered.

‘‘Mr Lit­tleproud stated this con­sul­ta­tion process and re­port would strongly in­flu­ence de­ci­sions around the neu­tral­ity test, and how they de­ter­mine a ‘neg­a­tive im­pact’.

This is our fu­ture, so surely we’re en­ti­tled to know what it is based on.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.