New team to lead MRSG

The newly appointed chair of the Murray Regional Strategy Group has wasted no time building on the foundations which have been laid for the organisation over the past two years.

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Geoff Moar was elected unopposed as MRSG chair at its inaugural Annual General Meeting in September.

He has since been working with the Executive Committee, developing the final steps to cement the group’s position as the NSW Murray region’s major water policy/management advocacy organisation.

“MRSG is a collaborative partnership with regional organisations which aims to present a united front to governments on our unique needs and the solutions required to support agriculture and our communities which rely on its prosperity,” Mr Moar said.

Its primary aim is to provide a collective strategy on water management for the benefit of the NSW Murray Valley region.

Mr Moar, who represents West Corurgan Private Irrigation, said MRSG was established after taking the advice of Member for Farrer Sussan Ley, who attended a Crisis Meeting attended by over 600 community members at the Deniliquin RSL Club in August 2018. The meeting agreed that the region needed a united community voice on water issues.

“There have since been two years of work behind the scenes to bring together the cohesive team we have today. Without the work of the interim board to develop organisational structure and procedural governance we would not have been able to achieve what we have in the last month,” he said.

Mr Moar said water was the most contentious issue in the region and for the groups to persist and find common ground showed the determination of member organisations to ensure MRSG becomes the “go to group” on water policy and management.

Also elected into key roles at the AGM were Deputy Chair Lachlan Marshall (representing Speak Up) and Treasurer/Public Officer David Crew (representing Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre). At a Special General Meeting last week delegates from other key organisations were elected to fill vacant positions on the Executive Committee.

“I am pleased with the collaborative approach of the incoming executive which has allowed us to employ Shelley Scoullar as executive officer. We have already written to a number of Ministers and Departments outlining our concerns on different issues.

“The first letters were to Ministers Ley (Environment) and Keith Pitt (Water) pointing out the ridiculous situation we are currently in, where our staple food producers are underwriting the conveyance of water for downstream users, be that for environmental use, town supply, recreation supply, industrial or agricultural use.

“We believe with the great rain events over the last six months, high tributary flows and the confirmation of La Niña the environmental demands on the system should be less than other years.

“We have asked the Water and Environment Ministers to recognise the environmental benefits of transmission (conveyance) losses and credit these losses from the environment to the productive water bucket; this can be done with the stroke of a pen,” Mr Moar said.

He said the group has also written to the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Environment requesting a two-day Murray Valley workshop on the Sustainable Diversion Limit Adjustment Mechanism, which MRSG believes is being implemented without community support.

“We have had a very busy month since the AGM and we look forward to implementing some of the projects that have filtered through from our members in the coming weeks.

“The group appreciates the efforts of the interim board and chair Alan Mathers in doing the hard work to get MRSG to where it is today,” Mr Moar said.

October 23, 2020