Independent ACT Senator David Pocock visited Deniliquin and surrounding areas over the weekend, speaking to locals and getting an on-the-ground understanding of the complex and often contested issues relating to water management in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Senator Pocock said the visit was an opportunity to hear first-hand about a range of different perspectives around the challenges and opportunities local communities face.
“We know reform of our federal environmental laws is high on the government’s agenda for this year, and water is a key part of the future of our biodiversity and food security,” Senator Pocock said.
“It’s really important to me to hear directly from impacted communities on the issues parliament will consider and that I will be asked to vote on.
“On our unique continent, water management presents huge challenges and opportunities and it was encouraging to see some of the synergies between farming and environmental protection.
“The love of the land and desire to leave a positive legacy was clear in many of the conversations I had this weekend.”
During the visit Senator Pocock viewed the SunRice mill, a local agricultural property farming sheep, cattle, rice, wheat and other produce, the Mascotte Escape witnessing the irrigation and canal network in action delivering environmental water, the Reed Beds Bird Hide, the Barmah Choke, Gulpa Creek offtake and Lawson Syphon.
Senator Pocock met with Wamba Wamba and Perrepa Perrepa leaders, hearing about the Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre as well as the Werai Land and Water Aboriginal Corporation, the Cummeragunja Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Bangerang Aboriginal Corporation. He enjoyed a friendly game of touch footy and a BBQ with the local Rugby Union Club, the Deniliquin Drovers.
The visit was also attended by representatives from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, WaterTrust Australia, Office of the Inspector-General of Water Compliance, Commonwealth Environmental Water Office and the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.
NSW Senator Perin Davey and an adviser from Minister Plibersek’s office also accompanied the delegation. Senator Pocock thanked Senator Davey for the invitation to visit and the team at Murray Irrigation Limited for organising. He said he also looked forward to visiting other parts of the basin and continuing to consult and learn.
The Senator’s travel and accommodation were paid for in accordance with IPEA travel policy and advice.