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Independent assessment of social and economic conditions in the Basin

The Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, has established the Independent Murray-Darling Basin Social and Economic Assessment Panel.

The work of the Panel is underway and well advanced with its final report due to the Commonwealth Minister responsible for water.

This project will be an important part of the longer-term efforts to monitor the social and economic conditions in the Basin, and to evaluate the outcomes of the Basin Plan. It may consider.

The Panel sought public feedback on its Terms of Reference during late July and August 2019 and undertook a substantial community engagement roadshow during October 2019.  The final Terms of Reference and key assessment questions are:

  1. The review will provide an independent assessment of social and economic conditions in rural and regional communities across the Murray-Darling Basin.
  2. The review will assess impacts (positive and negative) of water reforms including the Basin Plan on the vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity of Murray-Darling Basin communities and their development potential. This will include consideration of social and economic impacts of the environmental effects of water reforms.
  3. The review will consider ongoing structural changes influencing different communities in the Murray-Darling Basin, and seek to separate the effects of these trends, and events such as drought, from the effects of water reform, including the Basin Plan.
  4. The review will support longer-term efforts to monitor and understand social and economic conditions in the Basin, and the impact (positive and negative) of water reform on different communities in the Murray-Darling Basin. This will be used by governments and leaders to help understand the outcomes of water reform, including the Basin Plan. However, this is not a review of the Basin Plan.
  5. The work of the Panel will explore a range of options that stimulate, support and promote healthy and sustainable rural and regional communities in the Basin.

Assessment Questions:

  1. What are the visions and hopes of Basin people for themselves and their communities?
  2. What have been the social and economic experiences of different Basin communities, relative to other rural and regional communities in Australia, and what have been the main drivers of these experiences?
  3. What are expected to be the most significant drivers of future change, opportunity, and risk for different Basin communities?
  4. What has been the impact (positive and negative) of water reform on different Basin communities to date, including relative to other drivers of change? What future changes and impacts are likely?
  5. Are there thresholds for maintaining the viability of different Basin communities, in the context of water reform and other drivers of change? If so, what are these thresholds and what do they imply for these communities, governments, and other actors?
  6. What strategies have the greatest potential to enhance the resilience, adaptability and wellbeing of different Basin communities?
  7. What are the responsibilities and distinctive contributions of governments, industry, non-profit groups, First Nations, communities and individuals in enabling action to promote prosperous and sustainable Basin communities?

In addition to the community and industry engagement that is undertaken by project, the Panel has commissioned a number of literature reviews and other work to help it assess social and economic conditions in the basin.

More information about the Panel’s work, including its engagement roadshow key messages documents and other documents can be found on the Panel’s website at www.basin-socio-economic.com.au

 

Downloads

Assessment of the social and economic conditions of communities across the Murray Darling Basin and the drivers of change
Southern Basin community profiles
Northern Basin Community Profiles
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Draft panel report
Draft report: Independent assessment of social and economic conditions in the Basin
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Submissions on the Panel's Draft Report
Updated: 18 Jun 2020  •   Independent reports