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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray
8 July 2003
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone welcomed local government involvement in the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council's 'Living Murray Initiative'.
Dr Stone will speak at the Murray Darling Association's 'National Local Government Environmental Flows Conference in Mildura tomorrow (Wednesday July 9).
Dr Stone explained that the goal of the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council is to create a healthy river - one that will provide continued prosperity, clean water and a flourishing environment.
"Obviously, it will be challenging to balance the different, and often conflicting social, economic and environmental values, in establishing a healthy working river. Local governments are on the front line in water management and are therefore key players in the pursuit of that balance."
"The community has already serious and legitimate concerns about how water is to be found for the environment and compensation and adjustment assistance. Governments are working on these issues, and are actively seeking the views of stakeholders. It is clear however that we all need to be working towards a win-win situation," Dr Stone said.
"The Ministerial Council has also responded to concerns raised about the process of community engagement, and has recently agreed to a revised timetable for community engagement and for the overall decision making process. It asked the Murray-Darling Basin Commission to advise at its November 2003 meeting how community advice was taken into account".
The Living Murray Initiative is one of the most complex natural resource management strategies ever taken up by the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council. It complements and is consistent with other Council strategies, including those for salinity, native fish, algae and floodplain wetlands.
"The Living Murray initiative provides basin communities the chance to ensure the Murray has a healthy future. Water is one of the key issues facing all Australians. Australians need to become a part of the solution," Dr Stone said.
Andrew Cox 0408 057 226