Last week, I was pleased to be given the opportunity to tour the northern NSW Murray Darling Basin with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Bob Baldwin.
Also joining us on the tour was the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder together with representatives from the Department of the Environment and the Murray Darling Basin Authority.
The four day tour included visits to numerous areas throughout the Parkes electorate including Wee Waa, Narrabri, Moree, Trangie and Bourke, as well as the Gwydir Wetlands and the Macquarie Marshes.
This tour gave everyone involved a fantastic opportunity to both see and hear how the Basin Plan is affecting people on the ground in the Parkes electorate.
The purpose of the Basin Plan is to provide a coordinated approach to water use across the Basin’s four States and the ACT. Achieving this coordinated approach is an incredibly difficult task considering the diversity of the land and areas across which the Basin extends.
Twenty five percent of the Murray Darling Basin is in the Parkes electorate and I have seen firsthand the range of different impacts that the Basin Plan has had throughout this area.
Some organisations such as the Trangie Nevertire Irrigation Scheme have undertaken incredible work as part of the Basin Plan. Sadly, others have not been as fortunate.
My aim is to continue working with the Parliamentary Secretary and associated Commonwealth organisations to try and strike a balance in the outcomes achieved through implementation of the Basin Plan.
Water is an extremely valuable resource and I am confident that the Basin Plan will assist in upholding this value on both an environmental and agricultural basis into the future.
In the catch up last week, I mentioned the Regional Higher Education Forum that I will be hosting in Narrabri on Thursday, 30 July 2015 at the Narrabri Bowling Club commencing at 3.30pm.
The purpose of this forum is to obtain feedback from students, parents, teachers and other interested community members on how the Australian Government can better support regional and rural students to attend university.
Joining me at these forums will be the Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment, Senator Bridget McKenzie as well as representatives from the Department of Education and the Department of Social Services.
To register your interest in attending the forum or to make a submission, please phone my Moree office on (02) 6751 1251 or email Mark.Coulton.MP@aph.gov.au.