Fight for the Murray Campaign
Premier Jay Weatherill launched the Fight for the Murray campaign in June 2012 to bring the community’s opinion to the forefront of the national debate on the River Murray.
The campaign aims to raise awareness about the plight of the Murray and show that more water must be returned to the river to restore it to a sustainable level of health. It has involved community events, stakeholder meetings, developing social media communities and a media campaign across South Australia and interstate.
Development of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan provides a once in a generation opportunity to return the river system to health, for the benefit of all Australians.
There is still time to have the Basin Plan changed – but we need support from across the Australian community.
Actions since the release of the draft Basin Plan
The State Government has established a high level taskforce, a community leaders forum and hosted targeted stakeholder meetings in Berri, Mannum and Goolwa.
The Basin Plan Taskforce
The role of the taskforce is to ensure the plan’s implications for the State’s environment, producers and regional communities are well-understood and to coordinate South Australia’s response to the draft plan.
The taskforce has considered the scientific and ecological information available to help inform South Australia’s input into development of the plan.
The taskforce will also consider South Australia’s legal rights in relation to the draft Basin Plan.
Community Leaders Forum
On Monday 5 December and Friday 16 March 2012, the Premier and Minister for Water and the River Murray, Paul Caica, held a meeting at Parliament House with leaders drawn from the community, industry and environment groups, academia and local government.
Community leaders discussed the government’s analysis of the draft Basin Plan and raised issues to be addressed in the government’s response on the draft Basin Plan. The meetings reinforced that there is substantial common ground among irrigators, environmentalists and community members in SA.
Targeted Stakeholder Meetings
Premier Jay Weatherill and Minister for Water and the River Murray, Paul Caica, have hosted a number of meetings to talk to key representatives of industry, environment, Aboriginal, local government and community groups.
During August 2012, Premier Jay Weatherill met with Ngarrindjeri, Lower Lakes dairy farmers, irrigation groups, South Australian River Communities (SARC), the Water Industry Alliance and Mayors along the length of the river. Discussions included Murray-Darling Basin Plan negotiations and issues affecting these specific groups.
In July 2012, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Paul Caica, hosted stakeholder meetings in Berri, Mannum and Goolwa to provide an update on the progress of Basin Plan negotiations and discuss the Fight for the Murray campaign. During this meeting stakeholders suggested ideas to raise awareness of the campaign, which were implemented as part of the Fight for the Murray campaign.
The Minister held meetings in March 2012, also in Berri, Mannum and Goolwa, to discuss the findings of the government’s analysis of the draft Basin Plan - including the draft results of the science review, and to listen to and exchange views on the draft Basin Plan with stakeholders. Some of the additional issues discussed at these meetings included:
- The Basin Plan must include salinity and water level targets below Lock 1
- System constraints that may be affecting delivery of environmental water need to be addressed as a priority
- Security of water entitlements must be protected
- The Plan must deliver on cultural objectives.
The outcomes of these meetings informed the development of the government’s response to the draft Basin Plan.
Meetings were held in Berri, Mannum and Goolwa in December 2011, providing the Minister with an opportunity to update stakeholders on the progress underway to develop a unified South Australian response to the plan, and importantly to listen to the views and concerns of groups and individuals. There was overwhelming recognition of the importance of:
- Ensuring the Basin is restored to a sustainable level of health
- Ensuring that the proposals contained in the draft Basin Plan adequately recognise the significant efforts of: South Australians in taking steps to cap our water use in the 60’s and progressively invest in irrigation efficiency measures
- Providing more certainty for those living in the lower reaches of the Murray
Developing solutions and strategies to influence the final Basin Plan and ensure support for South Australia’s river communities as we transition to a new water management future were discussed at length.
Further information is available via the meeting summaries:
- Berri stakeholder meeting summary
- Mannum stakeholder meeting summary
- Goolwa stakeholder meeting summary
Actions before the release of the draft Basin Plan
Premier Jay Weatherill and Minister for Water and the River Murray, Paul Caica, began their community engagement ahead of the release of the MDBA’s draft Basin Plan.
The Premier held a meeting in Berri on 26 October 2011 with key stakeholders and the Riverland community in his first regional visit since taking office six days earlier. The Riverland visit was closely followed by meetings held in the Lower South Australian Murray region on 2 November 2011 with stakeholders and a public forum at Murray Bridge.
At all meetings held in the Riverland and Lower Murray areas of South Australia, the State Government called for a unified approach from all South Australian stakeholders to achieve the best result for the river.