Panel Reports, Progress & Information

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This page was for ongoing updates to our project and community and stakeholder engagement activities.


This page was for ongoing updates to our project and community and stakeholder engagement activities.


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

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    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

    [Ends]


  • Panel releases progress report sharing ‘lived experiences’ of Murray-Darling Basin communities

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    20 Jan 2020

    The seven-member Independent Panel assessing the social and economic conditions in the Murray-Darling Basin today released a progress report, sharing a summary of what they’ve heard and seen to date as part of their consultation with Basin communities.

    The Panel was appointed by the Minister for Water Resources David Littleproud MP to better understand the lived experience of social and economic conditions in Basin communities. The progress report is the first key milestone for the Panel. The final report will be provided to the Minister on 30 April 2020.

    For more, please see the media release issued by the Panel on 19 December- this can be found in the document library to the right along with the Progress Report which can be found HERE.

  • Community Experience Survey- Closed

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    12 Nov 2019

    Community Experience Survey - Closed

    The Independent Social and Economic Assessment Panel released a Community Experience Survey for completion on 30 September 2019.

    This survey was designed to support the in-person engagement sessions held across the Murray-Darling Basin from 30 September to 21 October 2019.

    The survey is now closed and the Independent Panel will be considering the responses, insights and valuable information it contains from over 600 responses.

    The Panel would like to extend its sincere thanks and appreciation to all those who took the time to provide their input via this survey and the in-person sessions that were held.

    The Panel has published a set of Key Messages that form the notes taken from each of the sessions held in the first two weeks of the three week consultations.

    These can be found here for the southern region comprising

    • Griffith
    • Coleambally
    • Deniliquin
    • Hay
    • Balranald
    • Swan Hill
    • Wakool
    • Finley
    • Shepparton
    • Barooga
    • Couhna
    and here for the western region comprising

    • Mildura
    • Menindee
    • Wentworth
    • Barmera
    • Loxton
    • Murray Bridge
    • Strathalbyn.
    Key messages from the northern region will be available soon.





  • Independent Panel's October Engagement Complete

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    29 Oct 2019

    The Independent Panel has completed its in-person community engagement across the Basin and has begun analysing the information and feedback received.

    The Panel held 37 sessions in 29 locations across the Basin and met with more than 600 stakeholders over three weeks. A summary of the key messages from southern NSW and northern Victorian communities is now available HERE.

    These key messages represent what the Panel heard in the communities of:

    • Griffith
    • Deniliquin
    • Hay
    • Balranald
    • Swan Hill
    • Wakool
    • Finley
    • Shepparton
    • Barooga
    • Cohuna.

    The key messages from the Panel’s engagement across other parts of the Basin will be posted on this website shortly.

    The Panel is appreciative of attendees input, insights and time in attending the sessions held.
  • Independent Panel to undertake regional engagement

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    23 Sep 2019

    Members of the Panel will be visiting Basin Communities during late September and October 2019 to engage with a broad range of people in the basin. As part of this, a number of Drop-In sessions are being organised that are open for anyone to attend.

    The Panel wants to hear from communities about current social and economic conditions, test how lived experience aligns with analysis and research, understand key trends, drivers and impacts from water reform, and learn of community-led ideas and solutions.

    Click here for more information.
  • Submissions closed

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    20 Aug 2019

    Thank you to those who have made a submission or provided feedback on our Assessment Framework and Terms of Reference.

    Submissions are now closed.

    The next steps are for the panel to consider the feedback we have received and consider how best to incorporate the range of views we have heard in our work going forward.

    Please check back here regularly for updates.


  • Submission deadline extended

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    15 Aug 2019

    To allow more time for submissions on the draft Terms of Reference, the Panel has extended the submission deadline until 5pm Tuesday 20 August.

    Please register to the site and click here to make a submission.

  • Panel member Bruce Simpson presents at 2019 Rice Growers Association (RGA) Annual Conference – 2 August 2019.

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    07 Aug 2019

    Bruce Simpson presented on the Independent Social and Economic Panel's work to attendees of the 2019 RGA Annual Conference, introducing the Panel, sharing the scope of the review and program of work, and answering questions from the audience of approximately 120 people. Bruce took the opportunity to present the Panel’s draft Terms of Reference and Review Questions which are currently open for public comment through the www.basin-socio-economic.com.au website until 16 August 2019. As requested by audience members, his presentation slides are available here.


    To ensure transparency, Bruce wishes to state that he is a member of the Deniliquin RGA branch and his family hold A and B Class shares in SunRice.


  • Seeking your input- our proposed assessment framework

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    29 Jul 2019

    We invite your comment, input and feedback on our recently released draft Assessment Framework which includes our Terms of Reference as well as seven key questions that the panel will use to frame and shape our work.

    Please consider making a submission on the draft Terms of Reference and Assessment Framework by 16 August 2019, and to bookmark our website so you can stay up to date with the progress of the panel.


  • Independent panel meets to begin work to assess Social and Economic Conditions in the Murray-Darling Basin

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    26 Jun 2019

    The expert and independent panel assessing Murray–Darling Basin community socio-economic health will meet this week to hear from experts and review key studies before consulting communities on the key socio-economic issues and the panel’s terms of reference in July.

    The Chair of the independent expert panel Robbie Sefton, said it was important to take stock of the extensive work already done to understand social and economic conditions in the Basin so that communities could be informed about the current state of knowledge ahead of community consultation.

    Read the media release.