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Published: 09 December 2016   •   Media release

Around 450 people from across the northern basin have made time to attend information sessions about proposed amendments to the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.

Twelve information sessions have been held across the northern basin in the past two weeks by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to explain the proposed amendments that include a 70 gigalitre reduction in the water recovery target for the north.

MDBA Chief Executive, Phillip Glyde, thanked all those who had attended the meetings for their questions and for sharing their views about the proposed amendments.

"I recognise that this is a busy time of year for people but we think it is very important to explain the reasoning behind the proposed amendments and hear from those communities that will be directly affected," Mr Glyde said.

"We appreciate that there is considerable uncertainty and concern for some people about what the amendments might mean for them and the information sessions have been a great opportunity to hear their concerns and answer questions.

"We've heard the full range of views in the past couple of weeks about whether we have got the right balance between environmental, social, cultural and economic needs.

"Feedback has varied significantly depending on the catchment with some attendees expressing disappointment that the proposed water recovery target is not higher while others are equally disappointed it is not lower."

Mr Glyde said consultation in the north is ongoing with the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations also organising nine information sessions and workshops through until mid-January 2017. Dates and locations of these meetings are available at: http://www.mdba.gov.au/basin-plan-roll-out/northern-basin/information-sessions

"It is important that Aboriginal people have the opportunity to really engage in this process given the cultural, spiritual, social and economic significance water has for Aboriginal communities," Mr Glyde said.

"We also have some meetings planned in the southern basin in January because we recognise that a change in one part of the system will be of interest to others. It is a chance to reassure those in the southern basin that changes in the north won't impact water entitlement holders in the south.

"I want to make sure we can answer questions and gauge views so we can determine whether the proposed amendment is the one that should be recommended to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

"Those who weren't able to make an information session can still have their questions answered by emailing engagement@mdba.gov.au or calling 1800 230 067."

Submissions are open until 10 February, 2017, and can be made online, by email or via the post.

Following the submissions period the MDBA will consider whether the amendment should be adjusted before consulting with basin state ministers and providing to the Minister for introduction to parliament.

For more information about the Basin Plan amendment process or to make a submission go to www.mdba.gov.au/BPamendments

ENDS

For more information, contact the MDBA Media office at media@mdba.gov.au or 02 6279 0141

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