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New Water Minister relies on local knowledge

Barwon-Darling Water spokesman Ian Cole in Dubbo last Friday with new Federal Water Minister Tanya Plibersek. PHOTO TWH

The need to listen to local people was a key message from new federal Minister for Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek when she visited the western region of NSW last week.

Minister Plibersek visited Wilcannia, St George, and Dubbo last week, talking to local councils, farmers, environmentalists, and traditional owners.

Speaking in Dubbo last Friday, Ms Plibersek said there was a need to talk with communities about water challenges in the bush.

“I have told my department and the Murray Darling Basin Authority that we need to be transparent with our modelling and our planning,” she said.

“Wherever I go, people come to me with good ideas on how we can do better.

“And that’s why I like to have these conversations as close to affected communities as possible.

“I want to hear from the local community about how the Murray–Darling Basin Plan has affected them and what they see as solutions, and make sure that we can meet the water needs of western New South Wales”.

Minister Plibersek said that good progress had been made in some areas, but there’s still work that needs to be done.

“We know for sure that even though there plenty of water now, we’ll have dry periods in the future and during those dry periods we must keep our rivers flowing,” she said.

The Minister also spoke about need to protect river wildlife, protect river communities, and protect our food and fibre industries.

“Across the Murray–Darling Basin, we’re talking about $22 billion worth of food and fibre production every year and $11 billion worth of tourism, and a lot of jobs rely on our river systems,” she said.

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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