News

Panel seeks feedback

By Country News

Having community voices clearly reflected at all stages of the panel’s work is essential, according to the chair of the independent panel assessing the social and economic conditions in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Panel chair Robbie Sefton said community feedback was important, even to set its terms of reference.

‘‘This panel is starting as we mean to continue, putting our draft terms of reference and our proposed assessment framework, out to communities for feedback and ideas,’’ Ms Sefton said.

‘‘Each one of the panel’s seven members is motivated by a desire to see every basin community secure the best future it can.

‘‘We need to ensure there’s a robust body of evidence that shows how different rural and regional communities are travelling and why, and what that means at the basin scale.

‘‘But perhaps even more importantly, we want to offer ideas to stimulate, foster and promote strong communities.

‘‘It’s this sort of focus that can best inform government policy and investment decisions and give communities more knowledge and tools to shape their own destinies.

‘‘We’re posing seven key questions we want to investigate from how water reforms have impacted different communities through to what strategies have the best potential to enhance resilience and wellbeing.’’

The deadline for feedback to the terms of reference and assessment framework is August 16.

The panel will provide an interim assessment to the Federal Water Minister David Littleproud before the end of the year and will submit a final report in April 2020.

■To find out more about the independent panel’s work, and to comment on the draft terms of reference, visit: www.basin-socio-economic.com.au or email: independentpanel@mdba.gov.au or send a submission to: Socio Economic Independent Panel, GPO Box 1801, Canberra City, ACT 2601.