Senator brings hope

By Country News

Forging a strong working relationship with new Senator Perin Davey is top of the Murray Regional Strategy Group’s agenda.

Chairman Alan Mathers said the group way buoyed by having the voice of Deniliquin local, Senator Davey, in parliament.

‘‘Senator Davey has immense knowledge of our region including the challenges we are facing from changes to water policy over the past 20 or so years,’’ he said.

‘‘As we are all aware, this region has become collateral damage for some aspects of the (Murray-Darling Basin) plan that are not working as well as governments and authorities intended.’’

Mr Mathers said the first priority for the southern NSW region was accessing an emergency allocation for general security licence holders, who are now in their second year of zero allocation.

‘‘This is imperative. We have farmers walking off the land, having given up hope of a return to sustainability.

‘‘This exodus must be stopped and an emergency allocation is the best immediate step. Action is required urgently.’’

He said the MRSG was committed to an adaptive and flexible basin plan that protected farming communities and the environment.

‘‘As we have seen in recent reports the environment is suffering because too much water is being pushed down the river.

‘‘The issue of constraints has been highlighted many times in recent years, but until this summer the problems that can be caused by excessive flows have not been as evident.

‘‘We are also seeing increased evidence of social and economic damage from the basin plan that is far greater than was originally modelled.

‘‘Our organisation supports the plan, but these unintended consequences need to be addressed.’’