Senators Barnaby Joyce and Simon Birmingham have today released a petition* asking people to call on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to hold public meetings after the release of the draft Basin Plan and for the Water Minister, Tony Burke, to attend those meetings.
Yesterday, it was revealed to the Senate that the MDBA had not put any plans in place to hold public meetings after the release of the draft Basin Plan. It was also revealed that the Authority has made no contact with Tony Burke about whether the Minister would attend these meetings.
“The Government says they will do what communities want but why haven’t they worked that out already,” Senator Joyce said. “Perhaps we need a public meeting to decide whether we should have a public meeting!
“It is essential that people who have houses they are paying off, motels they are buying, tyre businesses they are running, and are part of the 2.1 million people who live in the Basin, have the capacity to have their say about their future at a meeting in their town. If the Minister was fair dinkum he would show up.”
“From Adelaide to St George and at nearly every stop in between people are increasingly worried about the leaked contents of this latest Basin Plan. Every voice needs to be heard to get this right and to ensure that all communities appreciate the concerns of each other,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Secretive, closed door discussions are just fuelling the angst, the rumours and the fears of people. Not everybody needs to like the final Basin Plan but acceptance of it certainly won’t come from shutting people out of discussions.”
“At Estimates yesterday the government encouraged people to get in contact with them about what they want. So let’s do that,” said Senator Joyce.
“You can sign our petition here or simply write to the MDBA at email@example.com.** It doesn’t have to be long just a few words that you want to have your say to the government about the Basin plan. This plan impacts all communities in the Basin and they should have to face up to the music.”
* Text of petition: To the Honourable President and members of the Senate in Parliament assembled:
The petition of the undersigned shows:
That we, the concerned citizens and residents of Australia call on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to hold meetings open to the general public on the draft Basin plan following its release at various locations throughout the Basin and that the Commonwealth Minister for Water attend these meetings.
** You can also call the MDBA about the Basin Plan on 1800 230 067 or write to them at GPO Box 1801, Canberra City ACT 2601.