Joint press release with Senator Barnaby Joyce, Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Local Government & Water
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s approach to consultation is a rolling sham said Senators Barnaby Joyce and Bridget McKenzie today.
“The whole process smacks of a conspiracy against consultation. The MDBA appears to have no interest in listening to the 2.1 million people who live in the Basin, for them the meetings are a PR exercise” said Senator Barnaby Joyce
“If the government were serious about consulting with the public they would not hold a consultation at Mildura in the middle of grape harvest season. After holding all of the hearings during the Christmas holidays last year, the government is now putting on hearings at the most inconvenient time.
“Nobody was happy with the MDBA’s consultation last time but this is even worse. After the Guide was released the MDBA held 23 public meetings, the dates and times all announced the day the Guide was released. This time the MDBA has only announced 9 public meetings and we are more than halfway through the 20 week consultation period.
“The Murray-Darling provides thousands of jobs, cheap food and livelihoods to thousands of Australian families but the MDBA spend more time in Canberra than in the Basin.”
“I have been out talking to growers on their properties this morning,” Senator McKenzie said from Mildura. “These farmers stressed their desire to participate in the basin plan consultation but the meetings have come at the growers’ busiest time of the season.
“People are seeing their first decent crops in years – they can’t ignore their obligations on the land to fit in with a bunch of bureaucrats .
“Holding forums at times adversely impacted stakeholders are unable to attend points to incompetence or sheer cunning. Either way it’s a disgrace.”