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Authority Chair regional engagement

Murray–Darling Basin Authority Chair, Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK AFC (Ret’d) is committed to getting out and meeting with people who live and work across the Basin.

Since taking on the role in August 2020 Sir Angus has completed several listening and learning tours across much of the Basin, while complying with COVID-19 conditions.

Tour 6: Sunraysia listening tour
17 to 19 May 2021

Mildura | Hattah Lakes | Liparoo | Red Cliffs | Colignan | Wentworth

During his tour of the Sunraysia region, Sir Angus met with many from Basin communities ranging from local government and First Nations to industry groups and farmers. He toured key environmental sites including the internationally significant Hattah Lakes, Kings Billabong, and sampled some table grapes while visiting Marciano’s Packing Shed. Sir Angus met with representatives from the First People of the Millewa–Mallee, Lower Murray Water, Mallee Catchment Management Authority, South West Water Users Association, Western Murray Irrigation, Dried Fruits Australia, Murray Valley Winegrowers, Almond Board of Australia, Australian Table Grape Association, Mildura Rural City Council, Wentworth Shire Council, Mildura Regional Development, Mallee Regional Innovation Centre, SuniTAFE and OzFish. The tour concluded with Sir Angus presenting on climate change and the Murray–Darling Basin Plan at the Murray Darling Association 77th National Conference.

MDBA Chair Sir Angus receives a briefing about diverse uses and value of water in Gunbower Creek area from North Central CMA
MDBA Chair Sir Angus receives a briefing about diverse uses and value of water in Gunbower Creek area from North Central CMA

Tour 5: Goulburn–Murray Irrigation District listening tour
15 to 18 March 2021

Shepparton | Tatura | Kaarimba | Barmah | Barmah Choke | Echuca | Cohuna

The Goulburn–Murray Irrigation District (GMID) tour was an excellent chance for Sir Angus to hear from local government, First Nations, and farmers living in one of Victoria’s most prominent agricultural regions. Sir Angus covered a lot of ground during this tour, meeting with Greater Shepparton City Council, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, GMID Water Leadership Forum, Goulburn–Murray Water, Murray Dairy, and Moira Shire Council. Sir Angus also visited the Barmah Choke and Geoffrey Thompson Fruit Packing where the importance of water management was clearly on show. The tour concluded at the beautiful Reedy Lagoon, Gunbower Forest, which highlights the benefits of long-term water for the environment. The final day in the forest was hosted by North–Central Catchment Management Authority.

Ross Burling from Stahmann Webster tells MDBA Chair, Sir Angus Houston, about pecan production
Ross Burling from Stahmann Webster tells MDBA Chair, Sir Angus Houston, about pecan production

Tour 4: Northern and central New South Wales listening tour – 15 to 19 February 2021

Brewarrina | Dubbo | Gwydir Wetlands | Moree | Narran Lakes | Orange | Walgett | Warren

The northern and central New South Wales tour was focused on hearing from First Nations, farmers, and councils about water management. The tour included conversations with stakeholders from the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations (NBAN), Stahmann Webster Pecan Farm and Keytah Station. The conversations helped examine how cultural flows and water partnerships can be improved, as well as showing the importance of the irrigation industry in northern New South Wales. 

MDBA Chair Sir Angus Houston and MDBA CEO Phillip Glyde learn about rice at SunRice
MDBA Chair Sir Angus Houston and MDBA CEO Phillip Glyde learn about rice at SunRice

Tour 3: New South Wales paddock to plate rice tour
3 to 5 February 2021

Deniliquin | Leeton | Jerilderie

The paddock to plate tour was organised by the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia and SunRice shortly after Sir Angus visited the Riverina region in September 2020 as part of the southern New South Wales listening tour. Paddock to plate included time at the SunRice processing facilities in Leeton and Deniliquin along with a visit to the rice research facility at Old Coree near Jerilderie to witness innovation and adaption in breeding and growing rice for the Riverina environment.

MDBA Chair Sir Angus with Renmark Irrigation Trust, General Manager, Rosalie Auricht
MDBA Chair Sir Angus with Renmark Irrigation Trust, General Manager, Rosalie Auricht

Tour 2: South Australian listening tour
16 to 17 November 2020

Banrock Station wetland | Renmark | Waikerie

The South Australian listening tour was cut short due to changes in COVID-19 conditions  but still proved to be a valuable engagement opportunity. Sir Angus spent time in Waikerie and Renmark, where he toured Banrock Wine and Wetland Centre and saw firsthand the wine business’ dedication to restoring the wetland. Sir Angus met with the Renmark Irrigation Trust (RIT) to learn about a collaboration with landholders, irrigators, the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder and local landscape board to deliver water for the environment. This teamwork was seen in action at Johnson’s Waterhole where RIT’s infrastructure is used to deliver water to the wetland.

MDBA Chair Sir Angus Houston (left) visits Leeton Shire Council
MDBA Chair Sir Angus Houston (left) visits Leeton Shire Council

Tour 1: Southern New South Wales listening tour
28 September to 2 October 2020

Albury | Deniliquin | Finley | Griffith | Leeton | Jerilderie

During his first official tour as Chair of the Murray–Darling Basin Authority, Sir Angus visited southern New South Wales including Leeton, Griffith, Jerilderie, Deniliquin, Finley, and Albury. During the tour, Sir Angus met with major irrigation companies including Murray Irrigation, Murrumbidgee Irrigation Ltd and Sunrice. He also spoke to representatives from innovative cropping groups, First Nations, environmental water managers, and councils to determine their views on water management within the region.

Updated: 18 Jun 2021