Local governments need to be a part of the decision-making process in the continuing implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
This is the key message of the Murray Darling Association, whose membership includes more than 100 of the 167 municipalities in the basin.
The association’s national president David Thurley and chief executive officer Emma Bradbury spent four days in Canberra recently to update key decision makers on basin issues affecting municipalities across four states.
The pair met with key Murray-Darling Basin Authority figures, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and politicians — including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten — to ensure that local government, as a responsible authority and the third level of government in Australia, is represented at the state and federal level in the decision-making processes that impacts local communities.
‘‘The basin plan impacts different communities and industries in different ways,’’ Mr Thurley said.
‘‘The best way for our state and federal governments to make informed decisions, recognising the complex needs of communities across the basin, is to include local government in that process.
‘‘The meetings gave us the chance to say that local government is ... vital to understanding the social and economic impacts felt by our local communities.’’
The Murray Darling Association’s 73rd annual conference is on from Wednesday, October 11 to Friday, October 13 in Renmark, South Australia. The conference will look at the changing environment of the basin and ways communities can engage with new industries and adapt to the changes.