MRSG seeks Regional Director to improve water engagement

The appointment of a Murray Regional Director within the state’s water department is a key recommendation that has been sent to NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey.

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The Murray Regional Strategy Group, which is the key water advocacy group in the NSW Murray, says the region needs a ‘go to’ person and a ‘champion’ in the department.

It believes there is lack of understanding around key issues affecting water management and delivery, and greater cooperation between local stakeholders and NSW Government representatives could help overcome this.

The MRSG executive committee had an online meeting last week with representatives from Ms Pavey’s office and has asked for ongoing engagement around Murray Valley issues. MRSG was established after federal and state politicians highlighted the need for a single representative voice on water issues in its region.

“Our structure has been established and we are now reaching out to governments to ensure we are not forgotten, and that our unique issues are better understood,” MRSG chair Geoff Moar said.

“It is important that we work closely with Ministers and their Water Departments. We don’t want to just be talking about problems, we want to develop solutions.”

Mr Moar said the meeting with Ms Pavey’s representatives focused on the region’s priority concerns and the need for the department to appreciate Murray issues.

The MRSG is able to have a specific Murray focus on water related matters, which may not always be possible for peak bodies that represent wider issues in NSW and the Basin.  As a consequence, it was important for the department to understand the unique issues in the NSW Murray, which is the only focus of the MRSG.

It also reiterated to the Minister’s representatives that allocation reliability had dropped to below 50 per cent in the NSW Murray, which is a reduction of roughly 30 per cent since the turn of the century.

Mr Moar said there are ways to shore up this reliability while ensuring the environment is well protected, and it is these solutions that MRSG wants discussed.

MRSG is submitting a proposal to the Minister which includes the appointment of a Murray Regional Director within the department, direct ongoing engagement with senior department staff involved in water management, and a full internal review of NSW Sustainable Diversion Limit projects.

“We are hoping the initial meeting was the start of improved relationships with the department, and an opportunity for us to work collaboratively on solutions that will protect our food and fibre producers and the communities which rely on them,” Mr Moar said.

December 14, 2020

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