Senator Simon Birmingham today welcomed delegates to the Murray Darling Association’s 70th anniversary conference in Tumut.

“The founding of the Murray Darling Association in 1944 established one of the most significant local government groups in the country,” said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.

“The Murray Darling Association has actively worked with the communities and economies across the Murray-Darling Basin, engagement with the people and organisations on the ground that know their environment, to great effect. 

“The theme of this year’s conference, From little things big things grow, perfectly encapsulates the story of Basin Communities. The Murray-Darling Basin produces around one-third of Australia’s food supply with annual agricultural production valued at close to $19 billion. 

“In this most complicated policy area of balancing environmental, economical and social demands, shared goals and the means to deliver adequate policy are dependent upon real cooperation and interaction,” said Senator Birmingham.

Senator Birmingham addressed the conference and outlined the Government’s ongoing commitment to growing regional Australia. 

“At last year’s conference I spoke of the Abbott Government’s framework for implementing environmental and heritage policy, and gave four key commitments to those in attendance – our ongoing commitment to water reform, ensuring the Murray-Darling Basin remains Australia’s primary food bowl, giving local Murray-Darling Basin communities a real say and our commitment to act in accordance with the interests of local communities,” he said.

“Through our Government’s focus on infrastructure upgrades and watering efficiency measures, and the appointment of local engagement officers to link communities into Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and watering actions, we are maintaining and strengthening our commitment to Basin communities.

“With the continued engagement of communities, combined with the strong foundations established by the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement, the National Water Initiative, the Basin Plan and the Abbott Government’s commitment to real action informed by local engagement, we are on a firm footing for the future.” said Senator Birmingham.