Basin Socio-Economic Assessment Panel report advocates critical need for action for Murray-Darling communities

16 Mar 2020

Mental health, front line services, trust in government and water reform are the top line priority areas for the Federal Government outlined in a report released today by the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt.

A seven member Independent Panel was appointed in mid 2019 to capture the lived experience of individuals, families and businesses across this region. The Panel’s report highlights the need for change and immediate action to help alleviate pressure on communities who are really battling and for the need to consider the long term opportunities most likely to assist Basin communities adjust to ensure a positive future.

What the Panel heard and experienced was real and is authentic - communities provided valuable insights by sharing their stories and experiences which have been integral in the Panel’s assessment of socio-economic conditions and framing the Draft Report’s recommendations.

Chair of the Panel, Robbie Sefton, said “The Draft Report is the result of listening to the families, businesses, First Nation’s communities and experts who not only understand the complexity of the Basin’s conditions but also recognise the need for a shared vision for change.”

“Our role was to listen, understand and articulate what is happening on the ground and reconcile those lived experiences with the changing political and environmental landscape,” said Ms Sefton. Additionally, the Panel commissioned evidence based economic and social research projects which helped to fill identified information gaps.

“Our recommendations cover five key themes starting with a strong partnership between the community and the Government to work together to decide on future deliverables.

“It is clear that water reform has benefited some Basin Communities over the past 15 years and we are not about to strip that away.

We do however strongly advocate for the need for flexibility, adaptability and genuine consultation between all groups involved in order to deliver significant and necessary change, particularly when it comes to water policy and reform,” she said.

The Draft Report’s release launches a call for submissions to provide insights and feedback on the twenty recommendations.

Ms Sefton said, “We are asking the Basin community, whether you represent a local farming family, a community group, a First Nations group or a small business in the Basin, to read the Draft Report and the recommendations and submit your thoughts on the findings to date.”

“Now is the time to contribute to help shape and influence the conversation with Government on next steps for the Murray-Darling Basin,” she said.

Submissions will close Sunday 5 April, 2020 at 5 pm.

The Final Report will be delivered to the Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt, on 30 April, 2020.

To view the report please visit - www.basin-socio-economic.com.au/stay-informed/documents.

To make a submission - www.basin-socio-economic.com.au/draft-report-submission

For more information please call – Sally Jeloscek or Sean Halse on 1 800 314 557

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