People must be heard on MDB Draft

Only a month before the planned release of the Murray-darling Basin Plan draft there are fears people will not be consulted about its contents, according to Nationals’ Member for Riverina Michael McCormack.
 The Murray-Darling Basin Authority Chief Executive Rhondda Dickson told a Senate estimates committee hearing on Tuesday, no plans had been finalised to hold community consultations similar to meetings held last year when the guide was originally announced.
“Lack of community consultation was one of the main factors as to why people became so angry and frustrated last October,” Mr McCormack said.
“Unfortunately it appears little has changed and people are still being ignored.”
Under questioning from Shadow Water Minister Senator Barnaby Joyce, Ms Dixon could not confirm whether there would be public hearings:
JOYCE: So you will go to Griffith, you will go to Deniliquin, you will go to Mildura, you will go to Goondiwindi and have public meetings, so the public can have some input into their life is going from that point forward. 
DIXON: Look as I said we haven't finalised with the communities how they best want to have the consultation but if they are going to be public meetings then certainly we will be advertising those. 
“The Murrumbidgee and Coleambally Irrigation Areas have great uncertainty hanging over them and need to know where they are going,” Mr McCormack said.
“The least the MDBA can do is to open forums in centres most affected, not some invitation only-event which will provide nothing more then lip service for the few Labor supporters left and the Greens.”

Cristy Houghton