The Wentworth Group has always recognised that national water policy in the Murray-Darling Basin is not only a water reform – it is also a major social and economic reform. That is, successful water reform is possible through policies that create economic wealth while using less water, and in doing so improve the health of river systems for the benefit of more than 3 million people who live in the Basin or rely on its water resources. Successful reform also requires putting Basin communities at the centre of the solution. Given this, we welcome the opportunity to review the draft panel report on social and economic conditions in the Basin.
In 2017, the Wentworth Group published the first independent, comprehensive review of the Basin Plan. Its purpose was to evaluate progress towards social, environmental and economic objectives, with the view to setting out steps necessary to deliver the Basin Plan in full by 2026. Our socio-economic assessment was based on expert analysis of public data at Basin-wide and regional scales.
In this submission, we seek to identify areas where the findings from our review align with the panel’s draft report. We refrain from commenting on the methods used but we recommend they are included in the final report to demonstrate the assessment is robust and representative of the communities and industry groups within the Basin.
Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists