Pressure on basin inspector-general to restore faith

By Rodney Woods

Over coming weeks, many community members will drag themselves to another round of consultations and meetings relating to water policy, this time for those being conducted by Murray-Darling Basin Plan inspector-general Mick Keelty.

They will attend in the hope that this time someone will have the courage to ‘call a spade a spade’ and reveal the terrible waste of water and poor policy that is crippling Aussie food producers, especially throughout southern NSW and northern Victoria.

I have attended numerous meetings and rallies and it is hard not to get disenchanted with the process.

Most recently, I was at the Finley meeting as part of the socio-economic inquiry being conducted at considerable taxpayer expense ($3.2 million) by Robbie Sefton and her panel.

At the meeting experienced local farmers and businessmen expressed their grave concerns about the damage being done in our community by the basin plan.

Yet upon reading the interim report from the independent assessment these comments and concerns were downplayed.

I worry that the true extent of the social and economic damage will be watered down in the inquiry’s reports, as the interim report has not filled me with any confidence.

Will they be ignored, like just about everything we try to tell politicians about the basin plan and what it is doing to us?

So is it any wonder that regional communities have lost faith in government and ‘independent’ reports.

I only hope that inspector-general Keelty can start the long process of restoring some faith, and help our communities believe that there are people who care for the future of our region and are prepared to take a tough stance to protect it.

I fear that if it’s left up to the politicians, we will continue along the same sad pathway of the past decade or so.

Laurie Beer