Further consultation on the Basin Plan neutrality test criteria will be offered to Basin communities unhappy with the process run by the Department of Agriculture.
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said some communities visited during the initial stage of consultation have complained of short notice, not being informed, or of the address for the venue not being published on the web.
Minister Littleproud said this was disappointing and he had ordered the Department to go back again where communities felt they’d not been heard.
“I’m not surprised complaints were received about this,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Getting this neutrality test right is vital to the Basin Plan. We need to be dead sure there are no negative impacts from water recovery.
“That means we need to hear from everyone we can.
“It’s unreasonable to assume people can drop everything to attend at short notice, and it’s reasonable to think the address of the venue would be on a website where residents could see it.
“Communities need to have confidence in the neutrality test currently being consulted on. This means they need to know they’ve been heard.
“If communities want the Department of Agriculture to come back for further discussion, the Department of Agriculture will arrange additional meetings. To allow this I’ve extended consultation by two weeks, until Friday 23 November 2018.
“Basin Water Ministers need to know what Basin communities think before decisions are made.”
Future consultation venues will be displayed online and more notice will be given to local communities. Giving longer notice of consultations had been difficult for the Department given the need for consultation and agreement with states on the proposed on-farm test before beginning.
Source: Australian Government