The Basin Water Ministers Council (MinCo) meets this week and Basin communities and
stakeholders are in the dark (yet again) on what’s on the agenda.

NIC CEO Isaac Jeffrey said: “$22 billion worth of food & fibre is grown in the Murray-Darling
Basin with a multiplier in economic activity taking that up to around $80 billion. That’s
thousands of jobs and businesses which need certainty to operate. Yet the key decision
makers in the Basin, namely the Ministerial Council, have fallen back into their old ways and
have failed to even publish an agenda in a timely way for stakeholders to review.

“The Ministers promised accountability and transparency, but it seems that only lasted for
one meeting. How can decision makers expect to make informed decisions if they don’t
consult? How can they possibly argue they are making the right decisions when people
don’t even know what they are talking about, let alone the substance of those discussions?

“Every drop of water, every action taken by farmers and every element of their businesses
comes under incredible scrutiny from the media and governments, yet MinCo and the Basin
Officials Committee continuously operate in a black box, far from the eyes and ears of the
people their decisions will impact the most – Basin communities.

“When was the last time the MinCo or BOC actually met in the regions? Maybe they should
hold the next meeting in Moree or Griffith or Deniliquin or in the SA Riverland and open the
meeting to the public, so we can all see what they are planning or at least be able to ask
questions about their plans.

“When four of the Ministers and the vast majority of their public service officials don’t live
anywhere near the Basin, it’s the least they could do to drive out there and meet the people
whose lives and livelihoods they hold in their hands. Look them in the eyes, listen to their
stories and make informed decisions – none of which they’ll be able to do in Sydney or

Ends. Media Contact: Isaac Jeffrey 0407 083 890