Murray Darling Basin Authority Chair Sir Angus Houston has completed his "listen and learn" tour across several towns across northern New South Wales and south west Queensland, with residents confirming that the Basin Plan has the water situation heading in the right direction.
Sir Angus said he received a lot of positive feedback from landholders and local government representatives in Boggabilla, Goondiwindi, Dirranbandi, St George and Roma.
"All the comments in southern Queensland were positive about the plan, recognising that it was helping and indeed it's true to say that the MDB plan really helped us get through the awful drought we had a couple years ago," he said.
"Throughout that period we were able to keep key parts of the environment relatively healthy and when you look at them now, they're all basically coming back to life with incredible vigour after all the rain we've had in recent times.
"The amount of rain that has been received further inland has been rather manageable and has been a boom for the farmers out there who see a rather good season before them.
"Lawrence Springborg, the mayor of Goondiwindi, was quite definite about his view. He said the fiddling at the edges with the Basin Plan does nobody any good, with any plan there will be winners and losers but we've come a long way with it so far, so let's stick with it."
During the tour Sir Angus noted the stark contrast of the water situation in the Basin since the last time he toured the area, particularly after the significant summer rainfalls on the northern side of the border.
"The country looks good, people are really happy with the rain they've received.
"I didn't meet anybody who anticipated a problem, they all anticipated a good growing season and a good harvest. Everything was very positive.
"That was the feeling right across the communities that I went to and I was very impressed with all of those communities, with their resilience, their innovation and their determination to move into the future on the front foot."
Sir Angus commended the towns within the Basin on their resilience during the drought, in particular the south west town of Thallon.
"Thallon obviously did it tough during the drought, in a very small centre with 250 people, and what happened as a consequence of the drought and then COVID was a loss of people from the community," he said.
"There is a shortage of workers right across the northern basin and this has manifested with people moving on during the drought and they haven't' come back.
"The people of Thallon have not taken this lying down, I'm very impressed with their plan. I had a look at the first project, their grass roots led employment initiative, which is to move an old railway building to the cricket ground, very close to the painted murals on the silos, and essentially they've completely renovated this building.
"It will be used very much as a community centre. They will have technology available for people who need to access the internet. It can be used for meetings and can be used by tourists to see what is around the region.
"It is an impeccable little building and I think it typifies the very positive approach by people who have obviously done it tough in recent years."
There was also a significant amount of interest in the Northern Basin Toolkit which is administered by the Australian Government and consists of $90 million worth of environmental projects for waterways across the Basin.
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