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Councils group stands by basin plan

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June 13, 2018

Fighting for a common goal: executive officer at Murray River Group of Councils Geoff Turner, chair Cheryl McKinnon and Moira Shire Mayor Libro Mustica.

United on making voices heard: The Murray River Group of Councils comprises six councils in northern Victoria, Mildura and Swan Hill Rural City Councils and Loddon, Gannawarra, Campaspe and Moira Shires.

The Murray River Group of Councils is standing by the Murray Darling Basin Plan, but has acknowledged the personal costs to many northern Victorian communities.

After releasing social research into the impact of the plan on June 4, the group met at Moira Shire headquarters in Cobram on Thursday to discuss the release of a new video aimed at highlighting the social impacts of the plan.

The video documents the struggles of many farmers battling high water prices as a result of the plan and the ripple effect it has had on many communities where its lifeblood is water.

The group believes most people support the environmental goals of the plan, but want it to be implemented in a way that does not put Victorian communities and the future of the food bowl at risk.

Murray River Group of Councils chairwoman Cheryl McKinnon said there was a lot of angst and uncertainty in northern Victorian communities about less water meaning higher water prices.

‘‘The next big dry is a huge concern. That will absolutely mean less water available, which means the prices could go through the roof,’’ Cr McKinnon said.

The video also aimed to target ministers before the Minco meeting in Canberra on Friday.

‘‘We need ministers to see and hear the stories of these individuals that we have selected and see that the social impacts don’t equal the facts and figures they have in their reports,’’ Cr McKinnon said.

‘‘We are talking about real people here. Sometimes sitting in Canberra, that can become a little bit remote from reality in terms of what the people in the communities are feeling.’’

Cr McKinnon said it was important that if any single megalitre of water was recovered from northern Victorian communities it was met with a social economic impact assessment.

●To watch the video, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBQjvajTQFk

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