Conservative Party Victorian Senate candidate Kevin Bailey has called on the bureaucracy of the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to move their headquarters to Mildura.
Mr Bailey, has told the Mildura Weekly the MDBA is out of touch and not able to understand all of the stakeholder issues.
“I believe it will be impossible to get a fair deal for river communities if the Greens control the Senate and the Conservative Party is looking to replace the Greens for the Senate seats in each state at the election early next year,” Mr Bailey said.
Mr Bailey rallied with more than 500 people from regional Victoria and NSW in Melbourne last month, where a meeting of Commonwealth and State Water Ministers was being held.
The rally, coordinated by ‘Speak Up 4 Water’, bought together river communities from both Victoria and NSW with people travelling from throughout the basin region.
Mr Bailey visited Mildura in November and met with local party members to prepare for the Senate campaign this year, and he determined that Mildura would be an ideal location to house the MDBA if they were serious about decentralisation.
“The reason I have nominated Mildura as the headquarters for the MDBA is because it is close to both NSW and the Riverland region of South Australia, and is well serviced by regular flights in and out of Mildura airport,” he said.
“It is in the heart of the productive use of water from the basin. The Basin Plan has in the past been overly dominated by environmental concerns which have failed to help either the environment or the productive river communities.
“Idealogues from the inner cities and the bureaucracy of Canberra have made a mess of the situation since Malcolm Turnbull pushed through the Water Act in 2007. The 2007 Water Act and the Murray Darling Basin Plan was supposed to balance social, economic and environmental out-comes - it has failed on all three.” Mr Bailey said.
Basing the MDBA in Mildura will demonstrate that they are out-side the ‘Canberra Bub- ble’ and they will have face to face interaction, on a daily basis, with the families, farmers and communities that depend on the river system for their livelihood.
“River communities are committed to the environment and are much more in tune with the environmental, social and economic needs that far off bureaucracies in Canberra,” he said.
“When the MDBA said they were implementing a decentralisation agenda, I don’t think river communities expected 10 percent of the staff in the regions and the appointment of field officers was going to be it,” he said.
Mr Bailey intends to travel back to Mildura soon to alert the community to the very real chance that he can prevent the Greens from being reelected for the Senate seat that is being contested.
“People can vote as they wish for the major party of their choice to form government, but use their Senate vote for a chance to block the Greens candidate and replace them with a Conservative Party Senator who will stick up for the real concerns of river communities that wish to balance environmental considerations with social and economic needs,” he said.
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