MRGC urges government to slow down

MURRAY River Group of Councils (MRGC) Acting Chair Cr Tony Marwood is urging the Australian Government to slow down the Senate process on the Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Bill 2023 and consult with communities across the region.

“We don’t understand why the bill is being rushed through the Senate, especially when it is clear that concern about the potential reintroduction of water buybacks is widespread, both geographically and among industries,” Cr Marwood said.

“It’s interesting to note that even the Senate Committee’s own report admits that the committee accepts that buybacks will have an impact on communities. Furthermore, just last week, Murray Darling Basin Authority Chair Sir Angus Houston told us that his team had heard ‘lots of concern about water buybacks’ from communities as part of their current visitation program across the Basin.

“If local councils were faced with this level of community dissent on an issue, they would be obliged to consult widely and directly with the people who would be impacted by the decision. We want the Australian Government to afford our citizens the same opportunity to be heard and validated.”

The MRGC wants all parliamentarians to hear the voices of its regional communities, such as those of these agricultural business owners and industry leaders.

“We implore the government to slow down the Senate process. We also extend an invitation to all Australian senators to come and visit our region to talk to the people so they can fully understand their concerns, and learn from their insights and experiences.”

Third-generation fruit farmer Adrian Conti of Conti’s Orchards added, “If water was to be removed from this area, it would make us unviable”.

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