Water

RGA says communities should drive basin plan

By Country News

It’s time to ‘‘cut the crap’’ and put Murray-Darling Basin communities in charge of steering the basin plan, according to the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia.

The group slammed the basin plan and ongoing discussions regarding any potential changes.

‘‘The Ricegrowers’ Association, its members and the communities in which they live have had a gutful of politicians saying the Murray-Darling Basin Plan that has been imposed upon them is the best it can be,’’ the RGA said.

‘‘A best worst plan is completely unacceptable.

‘‘RGA is sick to death of attempting to minimise the damage to our communities in return for little or no net benefit for the environment. We are fed up with knee-jerk reactions to extreme views with the aim of silencing the criticism.’’

The group has called for politicians of all sides to empower communities to determine their own future.

‘‘This will be a long and at times painful journey, but it will result in an outcome owned by Murray-Darling Basin communities that we can all live with.’’

RGA said all the time that was required must be taken to ensure the best possible outcomes; basin communities must be empowered to determine the future implementation and must be provided with all the resources necessary to achieve the agreed outcomes with no negative social and economic impacts.

‘‘There are too many sacred cows that must be part of the discussion to achieve a healthy and productive Murray-Darling Basin,’’ the RGA said.

‘‘The constant push to highlight the different views rather than focus on the common ground may suit a political outcome, but it is ripping Murray-Darling Basin communities apart.’’