The National Irrigators’ Council (NIC) has welcomed today’s announcement by the MDBA that ‘localism’ would finally be ‘hard – wired’ into the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) with the decentralisation of some of the functions of the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).

NIC CEO, Tom Chesson said today’s announcement by the MDBA CEO, Dr Phillip Glyde would be strongly supported by communities in the Basin.

“During the development of the Basin Plan, the then Chair, Craig Knowles repeatedly promised communities that both ‘localism’ and ‘adaptive management’ had been hard wired into the Basin Plan’s DNA.

“To date neither ‘localism’ nor ‘adaptive management’ have played a central role with the MDBA considered by many to be a remote ‘Canberra knows best’ organisation which has a poor reputation for meaningful consultation with impacted communities.”

Mr Chesson said NIC it was pleasing that when Dr Glyde started in the role as MDBA CEO he made it very clear he was going out to communities to hear their concerns first hand.

“It is such a breath of fresh air that Dr Glyde did more than simply pay lip service to community’s concerns. Today’s announcement is a prime example of where the MDBA has, we hope, turned a corner and isn’t just ‘listening’ to communities concerns it is now going to hear what they are saying and act on it.

“As a direct result of the Basin Plan and previous ‘historic’ reforms, over 4 million megalitres has been removed from production. This is having a major impact on employment and growth in many communities. (See attached photos).

Mr Chesson said NIC Members have a symbiotic relationship with local communities. We can’t survive without the mand they wouldn’t be there without us.

“Time and time again local communities have stood by the irrigated agriculture sector. Together we are growing the Nation’s economy.

“We have fought for our communities which are underpinned by irrigated agriculture and are pleased to be bringing back to them well paying government jobs not dependent on the vagaries of the weather of commodity prices,” Mr Chesson said.

“Mr Chesson said he would be disappointed if the idea was simply to offices in major regional cities. There are more deserving communities which have been smashed by the Basin Plan. Ten staff with $20,000 a week in wages from the MDBA in a smaller regional communities could help crisis proof that town,” he said.

“We look forward to working with the MDBA and the Government to ensure a smooth, strategic relocation of the MDBA’s staff to regional communities.

Mr Chesson said we have appreciated the support of the Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce and his colleagues in the Basin who have strongly supported the concept of localism through decentralising key organisations.

Contact: Tom Chesson 0418 415 597