GVEG not at meeting

By Country News

Goulburn Valley Environment Group did not participate in talks with Murray-Darling Basin Authority representatives who visited the Goulburn Valley last week.

GVEG president John Pettigrew said they were not invited to discussions.

MDBA chief executive Phillip Glyde met with dairy, fruit packing and other industry players to hear of their experiences under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

Mr Pettigrew said they only found out about Mr Glyde’s visit through the media and was not surprised by the lack of invitation.

‘‘The basin industries and councils get more opportunities to comment on their issues, they have more funds and resources to put into it, whereas we are all volunteers at the Goulburn Valley Environment Group,’’ Mr Pettigrew said.

‘‘The whole exercise is designed to make it as impossible to deliver the 450Gl in up-water.

‘‘Phil was here with a particular area of interest, to visit the farming communities in the area.’’

During his visit Mr Glyde met with Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum over talks about the definition of a neutral socio-economic impact in the region.

Under the basin plan, an additional 450Gl of water will be returned to the environment if the impact on the community is neutral or positive.

GVEG has been in contact with the MDBA through various submissions expressing its concerns.

Mr Pettigrew said they were confident they would have a chance to be heard in the future.

‘‘Our voice is important because without the views of the entire community you are going to end up with some very one-sided solutions.’’

Mr Pettigrew said he was not aware of any other environment groups that were contacted about the visit.

—Siobhan McKenna