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New Regional solution to Murray Darling Basin Plan

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) has established a Water Working Group in the Border Rivers–Gwydir Region, to identify local catchment solutions to the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP). This is in response to a request from Minister Simon Crean that RDANI co-ordinate a regional approach.

Chairman of RDANI Mal Peters, said “The Border Rivers–Gwydir Water Working Group (BRGWWG) will complement the Water Working Group already operating in the Namoi region. Together they will provide a forum for comprehensive regional input into water issues for Northern Inland NSW, and a mechanism to leverage from the Federal Government’s $5.8 billion Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program fund and any State Government programs for the benefit of local government areas in the catchments.”

Membership of BRGWWG includes representative from all Local Government bodies in the region, Gwydir Valley Irrigators, Border Rivers Food and Fibre, major industrial water users, the Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority and RDANI.

Mr. Peters said he was confident a robust and acceptable process will develop and RDANI was pleased to announce the appointment of highly regarded David Thompson as the RDANI Murray Darling Basin Project Officer who will be a member of both groups and the coordination point on projects.

The Water Working Groups will provide the local expertise needed to devise suitable projects and give advice on project proposals from other proponents within the region. In addition to the wealth of knowledge about local agricultural and economic issues within the group, a Water Technical Reference Panel will also be established to provide advice on the technical and economic aspects of new initiatives and water reforms.

Mr. Peters said he is acutely aware of the need to obtain a balance between environmental, economic and social objectives within the region. “Their focus will be on opportunities which can meet the environmental objectives of water planning processes, but without compromising the essential economic activities in our regional communities. Socio-economic impacts and utilising local knowledge of the water situation to achieve favourable outcomes are high on the agenda.”

Media Contact: Mal Peters 0400-072-558

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