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Community consultation

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Consultation on the proposed Basin Plan provided the Murray–Darling Basin Authority with the opportunity to draw on people’s knowledge, experience and expertise.

As required by the Water Act 2007 (Cwlth), after publication of the proposed Basin Plan for consultation and its supporting documents, the MDBA began a consultation period, which ran from 28 November 2011 to 16 April 2012.

The MDBA invited people to make submissions on the proposed Basin Plan. The invitation was published in metropolitan and regional newspapers in the Basin, on the MDBA's website, and in a Special Gazette.

During this time the MDBA also organised a wide range of meetings and events to engage with many different stakeholder groups in the Basin. These meetings included:

  • 24 community meetings throughout the Basin
  • 56 round-table and technical meetings with community leaders and key stakeholder groups (e.g. peak bodies, environmental non-government organisations, water user groups, local councils and members of the scientific community)
  • 30 visits to Aboriginal communities
  • 18 bank briefings in nine regions
  • five water trade meetings with irrigation and infrastructure operators
  • presentation of information at approximately 17 conferences and workshops.

As a result, nearly 12,000 submissions were received during the consultation period with all, except those identified as confidential by the submitter, published on the MDBA website.

Consultation with traditional owners

Engagement with Aborginal people began with meetings with the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations and Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations. Subsequently, these traditional owner organisations became involved in capacity-building projects such as cultural flows research and their participation in the design of the formal consultative process for the proposed Basin Plan.

The MDBA's staff visited approximately 30 Aboriginal communities across the Basin to encourage and assist people to make formal submissions. Local Aboriginal people facilitated consultation sessions, with independent facilitators on hand to help draft submissions. The Authority also developed communications products, such as a yarn on the river – getting Aboriginal voices into the Basin Plan, to facilitate Aboriginal input to the Plan.

Reporting on public consultation

Public submissions were reviewed by the MDBA's staff as they were lodged, and the issues raised were recorded and assessed to determine if the submission identified issues that required changes to be made to the draft Basin Plan. A report was prepared summarising submissions received by the MDBA, including how submissions were addressed and any alteration made to the proposed Basin Plan as a result of considering them. The Authority Chair presented this report to the Minister on 28 May 2012.

Should you wish to view any of the previous submissions or access any reports from the previous community meetings please email engagement@mdba.gov.au