MDBA panel wraps up community meetings

MDBA panel wraps up community meetings

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VOICES HEARD: MDBP Independent Panel chair Robbie Sefton is urging everyone to have their say on the social and economic effects of the plan.

VOICES HEARD: MDBP Independent Panel chair Robbie Sefton is urging everyone to have their say on the social and economic effects of the plan.

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THE Murray-Darling Basin independent panel has wrapped up its series of workshops and meetings across the basin, aimed at hearing about the social and economic conditions in the region.

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THE Murray-Darling Basin independent panel has wrapped up its series of workshops and meetings across the basin, aimed at hearing about the social and economic conditions in the region.

During the past few weeks, the panel held 27 round tables with participants from the health, education, irrigation, agriculture, aged services, youth services, business, local government and other sectors.

Independent Panel chair Robbie Sefton said the aim of the round tables was to ensure that all sectors that play a part in regional community life were able to have a say and be heard.

In addition to the round tables, 12 drop in sessions were held across the basin which attracted large numbers of attendees.

The feedback from these have been compiled into a key messages document, with feedback from the western consultations still being put together.

Consultations were held in 29 locations across three weeks and the Panel has captured the broad range of issues, inputs, views and information that people were able to share.

More than 600 people attended round tables and drop in sessions with more than 400 so far sharing their thoughts via the Panel's Community Experience Survey, which is online and complimenting the face-to-face sessions.

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"We've listened to what the Basin community has had to say throughout the last three weeks," Ms Sefton said.

"We have heard that there are deep and real issues common among many communities in the basin.

"The Panel has been concerned with the many reports of mental health issues, the sense of hopelessness that many are feeling and the reducing levels of community resilience. We've communicated these concerns to (Water Resources) Minister (David) Littleproud.

"The Panel has also heard some ideas and options that communities want governments to consider to help them emerge from the current situation and thrive and prosper into the future, we thank everyone who has attended consultation events and has completed the survey for their input."

Ms Sefton encouraged anyone interested to bookmark the Panel's website and register for regular updates.

She said people should also complete the online survey, which is still open.

The panel will provide an interim report to Mr Littleproud before the end of 2019, with a final report due in April.

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