It is time for action. The time for talking is over, we need to acknowledge the problems and work together to achieve solutions.
That is the clear message from Speak Up Campaign chair Lachlan Marshall ahead of a visit to the region early next week by federal Water Minister Keith Pitt.
“Many organisations across the region, ourselves included, have been very critical of water management, and the politicians and bureaucracies that are overseeing it.
“This is a reflection of extreme frustration at the lack of collaboration and the lack of commitment to finding solutions to problems which everyone knows exist in our region,” Mr Marshall said.
He said Speak Up was calling for a two-day workshop to be held in Deniliquin with the prime purpose of identifying issues with the Basin Plan and overall water management which have significantly reduced water availability for food production in the southern food bowl.
He said the workshop needs to include Ministerial advisers and the Basin Officials Committee, whose role is to facilitate cooperation and coordination between the Commonwealth, the Basin states and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority in funding works and managing the basin’s water.
“It is time to move forward … to acknowledge honestly and openly that the Basin Plan has had unintended adverse impacts on the southern food bowl, to put politics aside and take proactive steps to secure our region’s future.
“This is going to be a huge challenge for everyone involved, but if we are to protect this nation’s food bowl and the contribution it makes in terms of food production and economic prosperity, it must be done,” Mr Marshall said.
“I look forward to discussing the workshop and its potential with Mr Pitt as the first step to making it happen.”