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ENVIRONMENT—MURRAY DARLING BASIN COMMUNITIES

Senator McKenzie amended general business notice of motion no. 665 by leave and, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved—That the Senate—

 (a) notes the presence of the Women for a Living Basin delegation in Canberra on Wednesday, 29 February 2012, representing women and families from Murray Darling Basin (MDB) communities in southern New South Wales;

 (b) recognises:

  (i) the widespread concern that the draft Basin Plan is having on MDB communities, and

  (ii) that these concerns include mental stress, job and business uncertainty, loss of skills, bank pressure, impact on land prices and equity, families relocating and pressure on schools; and

 (c) supports:

  (i) the call for more comprehensive consultation in all MDB communities by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) than allowed for by the number of meetings held so far,

  (ii) the call for the MDBA to publicly release details of planned consultation meetings weeks in advance to allow communities to plan ahead so that they can attend,

  (iii) deeply held community concerns at the MDBA's decision to hold consultation meetings during various harvests making it difficult for farmers to attend,

  (iv) the call on the Parliament by communities, such as those represented by the Women for a Living Basin, to recognise the importance of MDB communities and their long-term survival, sustainability and certainty,

  (v) the call to ensure the final plan does not lead to significant economic impact in terms of loss of jobs, skills and the impact on families,

  (vi) the call by MDB communities to ensure a final basin plan balances the needs of communities with those of the environment, and


  (vii) the call on the Government to listen to, not ignore, community and farmer concerns about non-strategic water buybacks.

Question put and passed.