Water

Independent basin plan panel to visit Shepparton, Finley, Cobram and Cohuna

By Rodney Woods

The independent panel assessing social and economic conditions in the Murray-Darling Basin is preparing for stakeholder consultations across the basin after finalising its terms of reference and assessment framework following submissions from stakeholders on the draft terms of reference.

The independent panel will visit Shepparton, Finley, Cobram and Cohuna during the first week of October.

Panel chair Robbie Sefton said the final terms of reference reflected public feedback including to ensure a variety of stakeholder perspectives such as those of First Nations and non-agriculture sector stakeholders were captured, and to consider both the positive and negative impacts of water reform and other drivers of change.

“We’ve listened to the basin community and amended our terms of reference to better reflect the issues people want to raise as we assess social and economic conditions across the basin,” Ms Sefton said.

“More than 100 people took the time to make submissions.

“We have been guided by that invaluable input into the process, and we’ve published those submissions on our website, along with our final terms of reference.”

To find out more about the independent panel’s work, meetings schedule and terms of reference, visit: https://www.basin-socio-economic.com.au or email independentpanel@mdba.gov.au

General inquiries may also be directed to 1800 314 557.

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

In other news, Federal Water Minister David Littleproud has announced $3.2 million for the panel to conduct the research it needs to assess the socio-economic conditions of the basin.