Question? Comment? Contact Us

farmer girl

We have been hearing from many people, right across the Basin, about the difficulties they are facing plus the opportunities that could be created.

The purpose of the Panel is to help identify actions for Basin governments to help build stronger local economies and a viable, long-term future for rural Australia.

The Panel will also identify strategies to support communities to adapt to change and build resilience.

Have your say about the socio-economic conditions of communities across the Murray-Darling Basin.

Please note the Panel is not reviewing the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. It is conducting a social and economic assessment of the Basin and its communities.

Your ideas will form part of our assessment that will go to Minister Littleproud, who will in turn share it with State Ministers so that they can use the insights to determine next steps.

Our findings will also provide input into the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s 2020 evaluation of the Basin Plan implementation.

If you would like to contact us, you can via email at IndependentPanel@mdba.gov.au or the General Enquiry Number 1800 314 557 or ask us a question or provide a comment below (noting some questions will be responded to privately).

We have been hearing from many people, right across the Basin, about the difficulties they are facing plus the opportunities that could be created.

The purpose of the Panel is to help identify actions for Basin governments to help build stronger local economies and a viable, long-term future for rural Australia.

The Panel will also identify strategies to support communities to adapt to change and build resilience.

Have your say about the socio-economic conditions of communities across the Murray-Darling Basin.

Please note the Panel is not reviewing the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. It is conducting a social and economic assessment of the Basin and its communities.

Your ideas will form part of our assessment that will go to Minister Littleproud, who will in turn share it with State Ministers so that they can use the insights to determine next steps.

Our findings will also provide input into the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s 2020 evaluation of the Basin Plan implementation.

If you would like to contact us, you can via email at IndependentPanel@mdba.gov.au or the General Enquiry Number 1800 314 557 or ask us a question or provide a comment below (noting some questions will be responded to privately).

If you have a question or comment regarding the Socio-economic Panel, please post it here and we will respond. 

The Panel will seek to respond to most questions publicly wherever appropriate and acknowledge receipt of comments unless you wish to have a private response.

Please note you need to 'register' to this site first, so we can get back to you accordingly.

Thank you 

Independent Social and Economic Assessment Panel 

Questions and comments

  • Dear Panel, I have two questions that I would like a response on. 1) Given the amount of literature reviews commissioned and the consultation undertaken, for the purposes of transparency and openness, it would be good to know how much has been spent on this a) panel consultation and b) all the commissioned literature reviews. 2) Given the open to all online survey and the clear strategic bias that seems to have resulted from this (see Appendix E of the draft recommendations report), has the panel assessed how much results have been manipulated? Regards Sarah Wheeler

    Prof Sarah Wheeler asked 3 months ago

    Dear Sarah,
    Thank you for your questions and apologies for the delay of this reply.

    The Panel’s total budget is $3.2m- this is still being expended and allocated to tasks as the project continues.

    Within this budget, expenditure to-date on newly commissioned work is around $790,000 and we anticipate expenditure on public engagement activities will be in the order of $740,000.

    Our public engagement activities included a formal engagement period (Appendix C of our Progress Report) as well as many supporting meetings and activities (at Appendix D).

    These have been supplemented by submissions on the Panel’s Terms of Reference, a structured on-line survey, and an open “Question and Answer” function on the website.  We have promoted our work widely through media coverage at the local level and at times in outlets with greater circulation and subscription.

    We have commissioned literature reviews, case studies, ‘trends and drivers’ investigations and economic modelling and these will be accessible on the Panel’s website.

    The Panel’s engagement processes have included both open sessions and targeted invitations. 

    This was so we could hear from a broad cross section of stakeholders that included (among others) community organisations and NGOs; the agricultural sector (including farmers and farm businesses along the supply chain); First Nations people; tourism, health, education, environment and conservation groups; local governments and local businesses; scientific experts and organisations.

    You ask about specifically about the open online survey. This was implemented to provide an additional avenue for people to participate in the Review. We understand there are limitations to this approach and that care is needed when considering the responses.  All responses to the survey were anonymous. We did not see any evidence that responses provided to the survey were duplicated or part of a coordinated campaign.

    The open nature of the survey was important as an engagement approach and our Progress Report explicitly included important caveats and limitations on interpretations of the survey information:

    “The majority of respondents came from two or three areas within the Basin including Southern NSW (mainly Deniliquin and some areas near Griffith) and central Northern Victoria. Most respondents were 50 years of age or older. As survey responses and comments mainly originate from this demographic, they should not be read as representing the views of all people living in the Basin.” 

    In addition, as you have observed, a map of the response rate to the survey by postcode was provided in Appendix E. While clearly not a representative sample of people in the Basin, this engagement tool provided valuable information from those individuals who contributed information about their lived experiences and circumstances.

    We are aware that we were not able to engage with everyone within all communities in the Basin and that there are people outside the Basin who also have a strong interest in Basin conditions and management.

    The views reflected in this first report will be supplemented by research and analysis, further consultation and a call for submissions in response to the Draft Report.

    Regards,
    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • Hi. I undertook a socio-economic assessment of the impact of national water reform on mature irrigation systems in NSW MDB in 2004-2008. This came off the back of working with water reform at MDBC and DAFF/CoAG. The research identified the only way to avoid social issues from water reform was to diversify irrigation sectors (i.e. local ownership) into alternative revenue streams that were not water dependent (e.g. renewable energy). I subsequently worked with relevant irrigation communities/industries to initiate a 'growth beyond water limits' project to diversify their industries. This secured interest from everyone (communities, banks, industry) except govt. It is not possible to make comprehensive long term change without policy assurances, so that effort pushed and pushed and went nowhere. In about 2010/12, I put forward a proposal for a relevant community to undertake a comprehensive review of 'water efficiency program' cashflow - i.e. to ascertain what money was just buying water and farmers out of communities, what money was disappearing into FIFO providers, and what money was actually being reinvested in alternative revenue streams that offered 'growth beyond water limits'. It is no small thing for a community to offer access to their expenditure data for this purpose. Yet zero government interest - they didn't want to know. Now we have off-shore companies taking advantage of the energy wealth of our solar-rich areas, with minimum cashflow (though at least 'some') going through the local economies ... who are still trying to grow via water-dependent industries, despite there being less and less water, and diminishing returns on efficiencies. The big picture intersection between social, economic, and environment very clearly says: DIVERSIFY FARMER OWNED BUSINESSES/INDUSTRIES INTO FUTURE WATER-INDEPENDENT PRODUCTS SO THESE COMMUNITIES HAVE CASHFLOW TO SURVIVE WORSENING WATER CONDITIONS. There is a huge amount of IP wrapped up in how farmers have structured their businesses to survive these conditions - yet zero govt interest in learning and using that IP to design smarter strategies and investment programs. Our farmers and their industries have some incredibly smart business models/approaches that policies are failing to learn from or use to create policies that could actually create viable futures. We have all the pieces: the technologies, the people, the industry structures, the need, and govt $. We don't have policies to allow these things to be bought together because regional futures require a 'whole of government' approach: i.e. policies that are supported ACROSS (currently siloed) departments and ministries; policies that recognise 'water', 'energy', 'health', 'education', 'climate', 'agriculture', 'innovation', 'environment' etc are inter-dependent (thus compromised by the plethora of independent policies). With this context, my questions are: (i) how is the panel hoping to to make any difference, and (ii) how do we help you do that?

    Imogen asked 5 months ago

    Hi Imogen

    Thank you for your patience.  We have received the email that you sent to us including the links and context of the work that you highlight here.  We appreciate your input.

    We would appreciate receiving a copy of your full report by via email to: independentpanel@mdba.gov.au.

    Your message highlights a couple of points that have also been picked-up by the Panel during its engagement sessions around the basin, and we will incorporate these feedback into our reporting.

    The need for regional communities (as well as farm businesses) to diversify is becoming more important. This is not just about what is produced or what commodities a community relies upon, but also processing and other post production value-added activities.  We have learnt that in some places and within some industries this has been done well and in other places there are opportunities to develop these further.

    We have also heard that the complexity of responsibilities between state and federal government and between various departments within each level of government makes navigation challenging. This flows down into how government investments are made and how eligibility criteria are defined. 

    The Independent Panel has spoken at some length about these issues and how its report and recommendations may contribute to the policies of governments in this space, and we hope to make a difference.

    We are seeking social and economic data and also undertaking robust economic modelling which we will seek to validate through engaging with industry and communities.  We will use this evidence in developing our recommendations for action.

    Your views and work offer important insights and the Panel encourages you and others to continue to share your understanding and any further recommendations with us through the Panel’s website and email (as you have been doing).

    Thanks once again for sharing your input and bringing your previous work to our attention. 

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • I know you can't be 'everywhere' but Why isn't the panel visiting Albury/Wodonga- perhaps the biggest regional town in the basin? Or for that matter, if you want to hear from diverse communities, such as health, tourism, recreation, scientific organisations other major regional towns such as Yarrawonga?

    Jonathon asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your question- and sincere apologies for the delay of this reply.

    The Panel’s consultations began on 30 September in Griffith and ended on 21 October in Forbes.

    As you say, we can’t visit everywhere, but the consultation program  has included 27 roundtables in 29 locations targeting in excess of 450 stakeholders engaged via this format as well as many more via 12 ‘drop in’ sessions. Locations have included a mix of smaller and larger towns as well as places where out of town people were able to participate.

    Through the combination of open drop-in sessions, roundtable workshops and an on line platform, we are engaging with a broad spectrum of people in Basin communities and people representing sectors including health, education, irrigation, agriculture, aged services, youth services and others

    While the drop in sessions were undertaken to provide a broad picture of the regional issues and provide an open session for anyone to attend, the aim of the roundtables was to understand:

    • the current health and prosperity of communities in the Basin

    • what makes a region or community different – what are the major strengths and opportunities, or challenges?

    • the major trends and drivers impacting communities in the past, and community views about these looking forward

    • community perspectives on the impact of water management and reform

    • views on the main inhibitors or facilitators of positive change

    • what ‘success’ could looks like

    • what roles can governments, industry, non-profit groups, First Nations, communities and individuals play in supporting prosperous and sustainable Basin communities.

    In some places, the Panel was able to run a ‘roundtable’ style workshop within the drop in session that has also enabled more conversations to focus on the points above, the responses to which will be important considerations for the report and recommendations which the Panel poses to the Minister.

    The Panel has also opened a Community Experience Survey which captures similar content.  This is available at https://www.basin-socio-economic.com.au/panel-engagement-sessions/survey_tools/community-experience-survey and we would encourage you to complete this if you haven’t already (all responses are anonymous).

    Through the survey and website everyone has an opportunity to have their say.  Following the basin-wide engagement sessions, the Review Panel will turn its attention to preparing its preliminary report to Minister Littleproud (due in December).  Further engagement across the basin is planned in the new year. 

    Please keep your eye on the website and register to ensure you receive updates.

    Kind regards

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • I attended a drop in meeting at Cohuna and it came up there was one in Wakool my local town. Could you please show me where this was advertised as a lot of locals new nothing about the session. Will it be available again?

    deb asked 6 months ago

    Dear Deb

    Thank you for your question.

    The Independent Panel is using a combination of open drop-in sessions, invite-only roundtable workshops and an on line platform to engage with the community.

    In Wakool, 2 roundtables were held with invites extended to a variety of people representing sectors such as:

    ·  community organisations, not for profits and NGOs

    ·  health (including mental health and aged care services)

    ·  education- youth services

    ·  agricultural sector (including farmers and farm businesses along the supply chain)

    ·  environment and conservation groups

    ·  local governments and local businesses

    ·  First Nations

    ·  scientific experts and organisations

    ·  tourism

    The roundtables aim to get in depth insights from around 10-20 people from across all sectors of the community is designed to make sure we heard from each sector, as well as quieter voices. 

    As these events were by invite only, they were not advertised. The aim being to get a very broad spectrum of inputs and deep responses to the following questions:

    ·  How would you describe the current health and prosperity of your community?

    ·  What makes your region or community different – what are the major strengths and opportunities, or challenges?

    ·  Looking back, what have been the major trends and drivers impacting your community, and how do you view these looking forward

    ·  How do you believe water management and reform has changed your community? If so, can you describe how?

    ·  What do you see as the main inhibitors or facilitators of positive change and why?

    ·  What does ‘success’ for your community look like?

    ·  What roles can governments, industry, non-profit groups, First Nations, communities and individuals play in supporting prosperous and sustainable Basin communities?

    Community responses to these questions will provide key insights to inform our work.  The Panel has also opened a Community Experience Survey which captures similar content.  This is available at https://www.basin-socio-economic.com.au/panel-engagement-sessions/survey_tools/community-experience-survey and we would encourage you to complete this if you haven’t already (all responses are anonymous).

    Unfortunately, the Panel isn’t able to meet with everyone in the basin and cannot visit every location; however, through the survey and website everyone has an opportunity to have their say.  Following the basin-wide engagement sessions (which conclude on 21 October) the panel will turn its attention to preparing its preliminary report to Minister Littleproud (due in December).  Further engagement in the region is planned in the new year.  Please keep your eye on the website and register to ensure you receive updates.

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • The following questions and statements are not intended to be critical of the Panel Members themselves, but rather the processes being employed. 1. The Panel is "independent and objective". How can this be assured in the outcomes when the Panel members are (presumably) facilitating the discussions at the round table sessions as well as the drop-in sessions? An independent facilitator should be used to ensure non-bias in facilitation of these sessions. The recognition and mitigated reduction of implicit bias would have the Panel as Report authors not directing discussion. 2. Independence and objectivity when the 27 round table discussions (involving a fair number of people and hence fair weight of feedback) are with hand-picked individuals and invite only? 3. Why hasn't the Panel used workshops with an independent facilitator as part of their feedback collection? Well designed and facilitated workshops can create far more valuable feedback then drop in sessions, online surveys and round table discussions. Workshops enable deep discussion across a diverse community and allow individuals to deeply consider and recognise their opinions on 'hard' questions. Workshops would have also allowed for deep thinking and discussion on community led ideas and solutions. A missed opportunity to have had some transformative discussions.

    Amy asked 6 months ago

    Dear Amy

    Thank you for your comments and questions.

    The Panel will prepare a report on the basis of expert analysis of information, data and social and economic condition modelling.  This work is being undertaken in parallel with the engagement sessions that are being held across the basin.  The Panel is independent from government and will prepare a report and make recommendations to government that represent a broad spectrum of views and that is founded on robust evidence. 

    The Panel is independent both in our structure and the way we operate.  We have been appointed by Minister Littleproud to look at the social and economic conditions within the basin & report directly back to him. 

    The Panel members have been chosen for their experience and strong connections with basin communities and industries.  Notes and insights from the roundtables and drop in sessions will be captured and inform the final report and recommendations.

    For the round table discussions, we have targeted sectors and organisations, not individuals.  The aim of this is to get a broad range of inputs, views, perspectives and ideas rather than a narrow frame of reference.  To this end, we are confident that we have representation from across the basin, across engagement locations and across sectors.  We have invited representatives from:

    ·  Community organisations and NGOs,

    ·  the agricultural sector (including farmers and farm businesses along the supply chain),

    ·  First Nations

    ·  tourism

    ·  health- including aged care

    ·  education services (schools as well as other youth services)

    ·  emergency services

    ·  environment and conservation groups

    ·  local governments and local businesses

    ·  scientific experts and organisations.

    It is this diversity of input that we believe will validate the technical and expert analysis being undertaken and provide a robust outcome.

    The round table sessions will be run in workshop setting.  Please see the attached document HERE that is our Engagement Discussion starter and includes the following consultation questions;

    1.  How would you describe the current health and prosperity of your community?

    2.  What are the major strengths and opportunities, or challenges in your community or region?

    3.  Looking back, what have been the major trends and drivers impacting your community, and how do you view these looking forward?

    4.  Do you believe water management and reform has changed your community? If so, can you describe how?

    5.  What do you see as the main inhibitors or facilitators of positive change and why?

    6.  What does a sustainable and prosperous community look like to you?

    7.  What roles can governments, industry, non-profit groups, First Nations, communities and individuals play in supporting prosperous and sustainable Basin communities?

    The Panel believes that by addressing these questions, with a broad spectrum of inputs from local communities that we can unlock new thinking and provide an insightful, robust and actionable report to the Minister.

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • My question is about water measurement, measuring and accounting. Is water across the Murray Darling Basin measured and accounted accurately? In the GMID our water is measured at outlet to point two of a megalitre! Why isn't all water across the MDB measured accordingly and losses (evapouration etc) attributed to that user?

    Pete Gibson asked 7 months ago

    Hi Pete

    Thanks for your question.  While this isn’t within the scope of work for the panel, we hope our answer is of help.

    Managing water in the Murray-Darling Basin is complex.  Basin states are responsible for (among other things) determining water allocations, developing policies and procedures for water management, monitoring water use (including through metering and measurement devices) and developing water resource plans that set the rules for sharing water between users.

    In 2018 all Basin states agreed to the Murray-Darling Basin Compliance Compact which provides a comprehensive response to issues of poor water management in the Basin. Better metering and measurement practices are a significant part of the Compact. You are right that metering and measurement of water in the Basin is not equally administered across the regions and the states. The Compact addresses that inequality and brings greater commonality to the state’s metering and measurement policies.

    Currently, the Basin States and the MDBA are working on a number of things to make accurate water accounting easier and cheaper, this includes:

    ·  the widespread use of telemetry for both compliance and water accounting.

    ·  the MDBA is about to commence two major pieces of work to make it easier to check the accuracy of meters in operation and, getting better, more timely data on the availability of water.

    ·  NSW and South Australia have published new, more stringent metering policies.

    ·  Victoria and Queensland are in the process of testing their proposed new metering policies with their water users.

    ·  the MDBA has recently published Best Practice Guidelines for Metering Thresholds which the states have agreed to use.

    All of this work will lead to more timely and accurate information to help us to better manage the water resources over the entire Murray-Darling Basin.  Please see the attached (web link) for more information.

    https://www.mdba.gov.au/sites/default/files/pubs/Best%20practice%20guidelines%20for%20non-urban%20water%20metering%20thresholds.pdf

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel


  • Hello Panel Members, I have concerns regarding the appointments of the Panel Members. They all seem to be/ have had strong association/ employed by MDBA. And I realise the MDBA has been tasked with the studies. I feel it’s a lot like school kids marking their own homework, and should be totally independent. The reason I bring this up is to inform you, as Farmers/ business operators (and I am one) affected by water policy change; A/ we tend to feel the MDBA will “cherry pick”, through the submissions. B/ we dont trust the MDBA, as past consultative processes have not been beneficial in the slightest. In fact, as scientific reports are showing the Lower Lakes in SA were always estuarine prior to the Barrages, why are we not massively changing the Basin Plan prior to this study? Peter McCallum

    Peter McCallum asked 8 months ago

    Hello Peter,

    Thank you for your message. The Panel is independent of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, both in our structure and the way we operate.  We have been appointed by Minister Littleproud to look at the social and economic conditions within the basin and report directly back to him. 

    The Panel members have been chosen for their experience and strong connections with basin communities and industries.  None of the Panel have been employees of the MDBA, although Rene Woods and Michelle Ramsay have previously provided independent advice to the MDBA through First Nations and Northern Basin Advisory Committee processes. 

    To assist us and with the need for independence in mind, the panel has chosen to engage various private consulting companies, to complete specific pieces of work and to interface with MDBA to provide supporting information & advice where requested. 

    We realise the importance of our independence and integrity and make all our decisions within the framework of values we established at the start.  This applies to the due consideration of each submission we receive and the way we treat any input from members of the public.

    The Panel is responsible to the Minister for all outputs of the Assessment including the final report.

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • Australia was once sought out for its ability to manage water resources in one of the dryest environments round the world. However now since the introduction of political influence into the management, it has been transformed into an international example of incompetance. When will this MDBP be recognized for what it has done and be scrapped?

    I Say asked 8 months ago

    Thanks once again for your questions.

    The questions you raise here are largely out of the scope of the panel’s work.

    The Basin Plan has formal reviews built into its implementation which will include opportunities for public input.  The shape it takes in the future ultimately depends on agreements made between the numerous governments that have signed off on it.

    The work of the panel is to assess the current socio-economic conditions and provide recommendations to government to assist communities and industries to flourish into the future.

    Regards

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • How come we get short time to structure the panel, the panel get all time in the world to supposedly "consider" the proposed questions all the while the train wreck is being blindly pushed down the track with no concern for the collattoral damage it is causing. Blatently obvious to even the simplest of minds. Will the MDBA be required to halt all actions while this review is in progress? Including sending "environmental" water to the lower lakes in SA because I understand they have carryed over 50% of their last years allocation ready to name a killing on the "open" unscrupulous market.

    I Say asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for posting your questions to the panel.

    The Panel is deeply concerned with the conditions in Basin communities and sees this assessment as a critical opportunity to help shape the future of our Basin communities. Our report will be provided to Minister Littleproud, who will in turn share it with State Ministers so that they can use the insights to determine next steps.

    In answering the questions that are finalized in our Terms of Reference the panel will look at the underlying causes of the social and economic conditions across the Basin as communities deal with issues such as drought, demographic change, commodity price changes and the biggest water reform in Australia’s history, but it is not our role to review the Basin Plan.

    The issues affecting our Basin communities are complex, inter-related and dependent on each other.  Therefore, ensuring that we can address and consider the right questions and information is very important to ensure that we present a suite of forward looking recommendations. 

    The panel also feel strongly that it is important to enable genuine public input into setting the questions and finalizing the Terms of Reference for this work & then at key points throughout the work, so we’re factoring time for this into our process, whilst being extremely mindful of our reporting deadline to Minister Littleproud of April 2020.

    The panel’s work is completely independent of MDBA activities and we have not been informed that MDBA’s workplan will be halting during this review.

    The issue you raised about sending environmental water to the lower lakes will be considered amongst our work in looking at social and economic impacts of water reforms. 

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel


  • Social and Economic Assessment of the Basin and its communities. 1: Can you please tell me how you are going to measure the economic impact in the Murray Valley? including Cohuna, Leitchville, Kerang, Koondrook and surrounding districts. 2: If you are including drought as an influencer why? 3: If you are including a downturn in the dairy industry why? There have been decades of drought and dairy commodity fluctuations. And yet there has not been the same exits from dairy during these periods. 4: How are you going to measure the impact 0 allocation of water in NSW has on our region economically? 5: Will you be visiting my region and meeting to hear first hand the impact the Plan has had on my district?

    Kylie Doyle asked 8 months ago

    Hi there Kylie,

    Thank you for your questions regarding the work of the Independent Panel.

    The panel is in the early stages of its work, having recently completed a Literature Review with a focus on identifying the information that exists currently and what we need to gather to help us fully consider the 7 key questions we’ve identified in completing the task we’ve been set. We’ve been seeking submissions on what people think of these questions and whether they are the right questions before we finalize them as we feel strongly that we want community input throughout this work. 

    We will shortly finalize the questions which will dictate our work plan and have started the process of determining how best to do this work, given available information, modelling capability as well as our time frames and budget.   We will certainly be transparent about communicating our approach through our website and engagement channels.

    As a preliminary comment, we will be looking for social and economic changes and influences from water reform as well as other likely factors (including drought) across all Basin Communities, because in reality it’s a complex situation and there are many social and economic factors contributing to how Basin communities are travelling.  Its going to be a difficult task to separate out different factors, but at the end of the day we know it is an important part of our job to try to determine how much water reform has contributed to conditions across different communities in the Basin.

    Its also worth noting that we plan to select a number of communities across the Basin – maybe 10-15 of varying sizes, locations, industry make up etc to study and we will also be holding discussions with community people across the Basin, starting in September.

    We would encourage you to participate and details will be updated on these opportunities via our website. Please ensure you register to the site and check in regularly for updates.

    For your information, the 7 questions we’ve drafted & sought feedback on are listed below (note we are not asking for answers yet but a cross check as to whether people are happy that addressing these questions will get our task done).

    (1) What are the visions and hopes of Basin people for themselves and their communities?

    (2) What have been the social and economic experiences of Basin communities, relative to other rural and regional communities in Australia, and what have been the main underlying drivers of these experiences?

    (3) What are expected to be the most significant drivers of future change, opportunities, and risks for different Basin communities?

    (4) How have water reforms and changes impacted different Basin communities to date, and what future impacts and opportunities are likely?

    (5) If irrigation ceased to be viable in some regions, what would that mean for communities in those regions and what could be done to manage the impacts of the possible changes?

    (6) What strategies have the greatest potential to enhance the resilience, adaptability and wellbeing of different Basin communities?

    (7) What are the responsibilities and distinctive contributions of governments, businesses, non-profit groups, and individuals in enabling action to promote prosperous and sustainable Basin communities?

    Thank you again for your interest and for your questions; we will take these on board and continue to consider them as we get into the detail of determining how we approach each of the above questions. 

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • when is someone going to say enough is enough lets remove the barrages from Lake Alexandrina and bring the Lakes back to what nature intended.

    ROHAN STONE asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for contacting us Rohan.

    The purpose of our work is to study the social and economic conditions affecting communities in the Murray-Darling Basin.

    The Panel will look at the underlying causes of the social and economic conditions across the Basin as communities deal with issues such as drought, demographic change, commodity price changes and the biggest water reform in Australia’s history.

    Accordingly our work will focus on making recommendations to government and the basin generally that offer ideas to stimulate, foster and promote strong communities for the future.

    Our work will take into consideration the values and benefits of environmental, productive and social and cultural uses of water; each of these are important to community well being and future resilience.  We will not be able to undertake detailed work on individual project ideas or proposals.

    We would invite your submission on our Assessment Framework and Terms of Reference to help frame our work going forward as we look for ideas to help shape the future of communities in the basin.

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • I have just registered and your site would not let me enter Coleambally as my suburb where I work. It would not let me enter Finley where I live. Both have postcodes and exist. I ended us entering Griffith which is not an appropriate community to record for my interest in your work. I hope this can be rectified.

    Jennifer McLeod asked 9 months ago

    Thank you for letting us know about the issues you had registering your suburb.  We have tested the site and while both Coleambally and Finley were able to be selected, it was a little tricky to select these if there was a mistype or spelling error.  The suburbs are available after first selecting a state location. Apologies that you had this trouble and we hope that you find the site easy to use in future.

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel


  • Hi there Socio-economic panel, My name is Stephen English from Lake Meran. I am aware that water savings for the environment are achieved through efficiency improvements in irrigation infrastructure, which I support very much. However, I’m also aware that if a wetland like Lake Meran has enjoyed historic volumes of water that has contributed to the Social and Economic community, that this history must be acknowledged. So why is it that these historic volumes that have contributed to this community for many decades have been viewed as recoverable water? Sure, a small percentage of water that entered Lake Meran was from a leaking channel, but where is the rest of that historic water gone? This water can not be accounted as recovered water through efficiency improvements. So where is it? In which account does this water appear? Stephen English.

    Stephen English asked 9 months ago

    Thank you Stephen for submitting your question. Apologies for the delay of our reply.

    There are several elements to your post.  The review will be taking account of the the social and economic contribution of water to communities and of the the impacts of changes in how it is shared, and although specific examples may not be able to be considered in depth the importance of wetlands such as you have identified are noted.  Your specific questions about water accounting and its treatment should be directed to Goulburn Murray Water which manages the operations of Lake Meran or the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning which looks after water licensing.

    Please consider making a submission on our assessment framework and terms of reference. 

    Thank you for contacting the panel and raising your question with us.

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • At the Peak Bodies briefing at MDBA offices in Canberra on 4 July, we were told the 16 page framework document and 7 key questions for feedback - by 10 August - would be available 'after the dust from 4 Corners has settled'. I cannot see it on this website. Please advise when and where it will be available. The window is closing rapidly and for those struggling to cope with prolonged dry conditions it is unfair not to provide ample time to consider the paper and their responses.

    Sarah asked 9 months ago

    Thank you for your question regarding the Panel’s Terms of Reference and Assessment Framework.

    The Panel is working towards the document now being available by the end of this week. Accordingly we have changed the date the feedback is required until 16 August.

    We appreciate the demands on your time and hope you are still able to provide your feedback as it is important to us.

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • One very simple question How do you expect the entire Riverena to survive without water ? Just answer that please Zero allocation means death of industry death of community death of farmers

    Robyn Wheeler asked 9 months ago

    Thank you Robyn for submitting your question. Apologies for the delay of our reply.

    We understand and empathise with those dependent upon water across the basin, particularly during these difficult dry times.  Your question is an important one.  Water is the lifeblood of many industries and regional communities in the Murray-Darling Basin.  Our role as to look at the underlying causes of social and economic conditions across the Basin.  We will consider the impacts of the Basin Plan and water reform as well as other impacts that influence how communities are travelling. These may include drought, changes in commodity prices and the exchange rate, technological change and and demographic trends.  It is important that we present governments with a suite of recommendations to stimulate, foster and promote strong communities.

    Please consider making a submission on our assessment framework and terms of reference. 

    Thank you for contacting the panel and raising your question with us.

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel

  • Will the socio economic study include groundwater cuts, whose WRPlans are now under MDB control. Unlike surface water, groundwater entitlements were compulsorily acquired 68% for the valley, but up to 92% in individual cases. 10% of water taken was compensated, 90% received $0 comp. This water was mortgaged to the bank, equity in loans. A socio economic study was promised by the NSW State Govt to be done by 2011, but hasn't been done. Many farmers have had to sell there farms, l know of 2 suicides

    Murray Valley Groundwater Irrigators Assoc. inc. asked 9 months ago

    Thank you for posing your question.  We apologize for the delay in our reply.

    Our work will include looking at the socio-economic impacts of how water is shared and managed in the Murray-Darling Basin as a result of the water reforms and Murray-Darling Basin Plan.  Water management has undergone a once in a generation reform and we need to understand the impacts that this has had on rural and regional communities.  Groundwater and surface water will be considered.

    Our role is to assess the impact of the Basin Plan as well as other impacts on the socio-economic conditions in the basin which may include drought, commodity price changes and demographic changes.  It is important that we present governments with a suite of recommendations to consider.

    As always we are saddened and concerned about reports of suicides and mental illness in our communities; these are complex issues and we encourage people to reach out and use the variety of support services that exist.

    Please consider making a submission on our assessment framework and terms of reference. 

    Thank you for contacting the panel and raising your question with us.

     Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel
  • I would like to know how the panel will address the long term social and economic impact of current land use has had on Indigenous communities. Particularly the economic and social inequities within basin communities

    David Crew asked 9 months ago

    Thank you David for submitting your question. Apologies for the delay of our reply.

    Your question is important and complex.  We are at the start of our project and carefully thinking about what information we need to gather and how it needs to be analysed.  We are drawing together a considerable base of expertise to help us with this work.  At this stage, we are unable answer your question in detail as we are still scoping and planning the explicit packages of work.  However, there are many important aspects of your question and we will endeavour to consider these issues in our work.

    We hope that you will consider making a submission on our assessment framework and terms of reference and thank you for contacting the panel and raising your question with us.

    Regards,

    Social and Economic Assessment Panel