Unity for plan talks

By Country News

A three-day meeting of local government leaders from across the Murray-Darling Basin has seen a historic demonstration of unity and commitment according to the Murray-Darling Association.

At the event, which for the first time in the 75-year history of the MDA saw all 12 regions represented, mayors, councillors and senior executives from across the basin come together to develop a strategic plan.

More than 50 delegates from 28 councils attended the event, with MDA chief executive officer Emma Bradbury applauding the association for the record attendance numbers.

‘‘Councils have again affirmed their support for the basin plan, recognising also that while the plan is not perfect, it will promote unity and leadership to ensure a healthy, viable Murray-Darling Basin for this and future generations,’’ she said.

Councils discussed a range of issues, highlighting the importance of state and federal governments and agencies engaging better with communities through their local representatives, the imperatives of having local government involved in the assessment and delivery of SDL projects, and the need for better resourcing.

‘‘The robust discussions and willingness to hear and to learn once again highlights the strength of local government dealing with complex issues, and emphasises the need for local government to be involved from the outset,’’ national president David Thurley said.

‘‘The MDA, in representing the views of our members, works hard to ensure that the perspectives and issues of councils and communities across the basin are known to the (Murray-Darling Basin) authority. What is needed most to preserve the health and capacity of the rivers and wetlands and the communities that rely on them, is strong and respectful exchange of knowledge and information so that all positions are considered.’’