Chair of the independent panel assessing the social and economic conditions in the Murray–Darling Basin, Robbie Sefton, said it was essential that community voices were clearly reflected at all stages of the panel’s work, including in setting its terms of reference.
“This panel is starting as we mean to continue, putting our draft terms of reference and our proposed assessment framework, out to communities for feedback and ideas,” Ms Sefton said.
“Each one of the panel’s seven members is motivated by a desire to see every Basin community secure the best future it can.
“We need to ensure there’s a robust body of evidence that shows how different rural and regional communities are travelling and why, and what that means at the Basin scale.
“But perhaps even more importantly, we want to offer ideas to stimulate, foster and promote strong communities.
“It’s this sort of focus that can best inform government policy and investment decisions and give communities more knowledge and tools to shape their own destinies.
“We’re posing seven key questions we want to investigate from how water reforms have impacted different communities through to what strategies have the best potential to enhance resilience and wellbeing.
“Some of the conversations that need to be had may be difficult and uncomfortable. But one thing is for sure, we will never do justice to our communities if we don’t listen to the people who live and work in the Basin when we’re designing the work program, and at all stages of the assessment.
“We’ve committed to seeking feedback from the start of the project right through to the end and this is the first opportunity for people to have their say on what we present to the Minister for Water Resources, David Littleproud, in order to finalise the terms of reference.
“I’d encourage everyone to have a say on the terms of reference and assessment framework, and to bookmark our website to get involved throughout the project and to stay up to date with the progress of the panel,” Ms Sefton said.
The deadline for feedback to the terms of reference and assessment framework is the 16 August 2019.
To find out more about the independent panel’s work, and to comment on the draft terms of reference visit www.basin-socio-economic.com.au, email [email protected], or send a submission to: Socio Economic Independent Panel GPO Box 1801, Canberra City, ACT 2601.
The panel will provide an interim assessment to the Minister before the end of the year and will submit a final report in April 2020.