Voices unite to help region

By Country News

Murray Regional Strategy Group wants to develop a community-driven approach to Murray-Darling Basin Plan implementation, taking in a broad range of opinions.

The group is composed of community groups, businesses, local government, irrigation and indigenous organisations across the NSW Murray region and intends to also address water policy more broadly.

Chairman Alan Mathers said he was buoyed by a recent group meeting and the organisation’s strong consensus.

‘‘We have brought together the key people from a wide range of organisations who understand the need for our community to present a united front to governments,’’ Mr Mathers said.

‘‘The call for this united approach was made loudly and clearly at a water rally in Deniliquin last August.

‘‘This is the group that will advocate on our community’s behalf, and we will be able to do it with strength in the knowledge that we have the support of so many key organisations.’’

MRSG recently met with NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey and Deputy Premier John Barilaro, in what Mr Mathers described as ‘‘extremely constructive discussions that have laid the foundation for moving ahead in a positive way’’.

‘‘I left the meeting with a degree of confidence; that after a long, hard road we are moving in the right direction,’’ he said.

‘‘Ms Pavey, and other members of the NSW Government, want to engage with us and use local knowledge to protect our prosperity.

‘‘Before the federal election I was part of a delegation that met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison; he is also keen to work with the region to find meaningful solutions to address the impacts caused by the basin plan.

‘‘We now have a range of people in key political positions who we believe will be willing and able to support our community, including Member for Farrer and Environment Minister Sussan Ley, Water Minister David Littleproud and Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie. At the state level we are working closely with our local Member for Murray Helen Dalton MP.

‘‘We will be talking with each of them on a regular basis, proving that this region now has one large, united advocacy group that is determined to achieve positive outcomes.

‘‘After some very tough years, we must take this opportunity to work collectively to progress outcomes for this region.’’

MRSG members include the Edward River, Murray River, Berrigan and Murrumbidgee councils; Murray Irrigation Ltd; Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre; Rice Growers Association; Speak Up Campaign; Murray Valley Private Diverters; Southern Riverina Irrigators; and West Corurgan Private Irrigation District.